The Houston Rockets welcome the Miami Heat to the Toyota Center on Thursday, December 15th. The Rockets have been playing some of their best basketball of the season and are currently on a five-game home winning streak. The streak is made all the more impressive when you consider the competition. The Rockets’ five wins have come against the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Have the Heat turned it around?
The Miami Heat, after a rocky start, appear to have found their footing as well. They’re 7-4 over their last 11 games as they shake off an ugly 7-11 start to the season. However, for a team that was a breakaway 3-pointer away from reaching the NBA finals, their season has been a disappointment.
The Heat’s poor start is backed up by the metrics. Their net rating of -1.4 is 20th in the league, and their offensive rating is a ghastly 109.6 (27th). Their saving grace has been an excellent defense, which ranks 7th in the league at 111 points per 100 possessions. What’s interesting is that even over the Heat’s recent surge, their underlying metrics have barely budged.
Over their past 11 games, the Heat have an offensive rating of 109.9 and a defensive rating of 110.8. While those represent small improvements, the Heat still have a negative net rating. Even if the Heat are a .500 team, the Rockets cannot take them lightly. Their defense is excellent, and a strong shooting night is all they need to beat any team in the league. These are the stats to know, player to watch, and X-factor in the Rockets’ showdown with the Heat.