Battle In South Beach: Houston Rockets At Miami Heat

Houston Rockets AT Miami Heat
Mar 27, 2011 at 6 PM EST
Opening Line:  Mia -8.5
Current Line:  Mia -8
Opening Total:  208
Current Total: 209.5
Opening Moneyline:  Mia -425 / Hou +355
Current Moneyline:  Mia -400 / Hou +330

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra knows the importance of this game for both teams

For as well as the Rockets have played since the All Star break, going 12-3, they still find themselves on the outside looking in for the Western Conference playoffs.  They realize winning is about all they can do; they can’t base their chances on the performance of other teams.  “You can only win your games because that’s the only way we’re going to get there,” coach Rick Adelman told the Rockets’ official website. “We started this thing by going on the road and winning, and that’s what we’re going to have to continue to do.”

Chuck Hayes looks at the road trip the only way a playoff contending team can.  “It’d be great to win all three,” said Hayes. “We’re playing to win all three.”  If Houston CAN win all three, it will take them to an 8 game win streak.  Their current streak of 5 is tied with Orlando for the second longest win streak in the league (LAL is at 6).

Some betting trends:

Houston is 5-0 SU In their last 5 games and they are 7-2 SU in their last 9 on the road.  The total has gone OVER in 6 of their last 8 games agaisnt the Heat and they are 4-11 SU in their last 15 road games against the Heat.  Houston is 5-9-1 ATS in their last 15 road games against Miami and the total has gone OVER in 6 of the last 9 road games against the Miami Heat.

Miami is 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of their last 6 games.  Miami is 7-1 SU in their last 8 games and the total has gone UNDER in 7 of their last 10 at home.  Miami is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games at home and the total has gone OVER in 6 of their last 8 games against Houston.  The total has gone OVER in 6 of their last 9 at home against the Rockets and they are 11-4 SU in their last 15 home games against the Houston Rockets.

Key Matchups:

Kevin Martin vs. Dwyane Wade

Kevin Martin continues to have one of the best seasons of his 9 year NBA career, averaging over 23 points per game for the first time since 08-09 when he put up 24.6 points per game.  He’s shooting 43.7% from the floor and 39.3% from three.  He also gets to the line a lot, attempting 8.4 free throws per game and hitting 86.3% of those attempts.  Wade’s numbers have surprisingly been pretty steady despite the addition of two other superstars.  His scoring average is down only 1 point from last season, and his minutes are actually slightly up.  The only real hit statistically to Wade has been his assists.  He’s averaging a career low 4.4 assists per game mainly due to the fact that LeBron James is the primary ball handler and Wade has been playing off the ball.  Wade will definitely get the better of Martin in this matchup, but Martin is capable of scoring in heaps.

Luis Scola vs. Chris Bosh

Despite the fact that he has levelled off from his red hot start this season, Scola is still putting up a career best 18.3 points per game and as heavily as he is relied upon by Houston he will challenge Bosh tonight as to which player can score more points.  Bosh’s 18.5 points per game is pretty much identical and he’s scored 20 or more in 4 of his last 6 games, including a 30 point game against the Spurs, a game which the Heat won by 30.  Scola just returned from injury to post a 20-10 game in only 31 minutes of play.

Tonight’s game is pretty heavily in the Heat’s favor, but I’m not sure it should be.  Houston has been playing really well and they know the urgency involved in tonight’s game.  Winning could pull Houston within half a game of the playoffs, while losing would be a significant setback with so few games left in the season.  Expect the Rockets starters to come out firing and attempt to quiet the Heat crowd early in the game.  If they can get off to a good start, they could be able to thwart the Heat’s inevitable rallies later in the game.

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