Time: 9:30 PM CT (NBA LP)
Spread: GSW -13.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Miami Heat possess the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 record at 22-15 and will travel to face the league’s best team thus far, the 35-2 Golden State Warriors. The Heat are 7-7 on the road and will find itself 13.5 point underdogs in the game which will air at 9:30 PM Central on NBA League Pass.
Miami has won four of its past six games, most recently knocking off the Phoenix Suns 103-95 last night. Dwyane Wade had 27 points on 9 of 14 shooting and Goran Dragic chipped in 22 points including three three-pointers. Miami would turn around to lose to the Utah Jazz 98-83 subsequent to that win.
Dragic has been having a bit of a down year, but he has stepped up his play over the Heat’s last five in averaging 15.6 points, 4.8 assists and three rebounds per game while shooting 53.2 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc.
The Heat average just 97.0 points per game, but have the NBA’s third highest rated defense. The Miami method of basketball seems well suited for the postseason, and this is still a team with a true identity and a lot of talent.
Chris Bosh and Wade are declining to be sure, but both are still legitimate No. 1 and No. 2 options. Bosh leads the team in scoring with 19.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and both veterans as well as center Hassan Whiteside all possess PERs over 22.
Whiteside is the league’s leading shot blocker, swatting 3.80 shots per game while averaging a double-double, 12.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He is getting paid less than a million this season and is sure to command a max contract this summer, be it re-signing in Miami or finding a new home elsewhere.
The Golden State Warriors had won four-straight without Stephen Curry and it welcomed its MVP back into the fold Friday night in defeating the Portland Trail Blazers. Less than 24 hours later, the Warriors knocked off the lowly Sacramento Kings.
In the win over Portland, Klay Thompson continued his dominant play even with Curry back in tow. Thompson shot 13 of 22 and 7 of 10 from three-point range to finish with a team-high 36 points, while Curry was 8 of 18 for 26 points and four threes in his first game back.
Curry had shin splints specially made and referenced Lionel Messi in choosing to opt to wear them. Draymond Green had his eighth triple-double of the season while posting a plus/minus of +30, the best of any Warrior. He is a talent to behold.
The Warriors are a team legitimately in possession of three superstar talents and a heap of depth. Green earned a max-contract over the summer and now looks as though he is a first team All-NBA talent. Curry is on pace to reach nearly 400 threes this season in shattering his own record last season of 272. Thompson can carry the load when Curry needs to rest.
And the Warriors still have the likes of Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala, both key defensive cogs in helping the Warriors continually rank atop defensive rating. The pace is frantic and points are scored, but Golden State is a legitimate defensive force that sometimes gets over looked in talking about a team with so much scoring potential. The Warriors are 17-2 on the road this season, while having an undefeated mark at the Oracle.
The Warriors may be on a fast track towards history. With just two losses the 72-win Chicago Bulls of 1996 are well within sight. It may be just a matter of avoiding injury, but as this season goes on the Warriors will rise on their own power. This is a loaded squad.