The Houston Rockets are fresh off a record-tying performance Tuesday night but won’t be able to celebrate for long as they get ready to face the Miami Heat Wednesday night.
It’s going to be a hard-fought battle between two of the more exciting teams in the league, and anything could happen during the 48 minutes these foes are out on the court.
Let’s take a look at where you can watch this contest, some key storylines and players to keep an eye out for, a prediction on the final score and much more in our MIA vs. HOU preview.
Start Time: Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Info: CSN (Houston), SUN (Miami)
Location: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Fla.
Live Stream: NBA League Pass (Paid subscription required)
Rockets (via Houston Chronicle)
F Carlos Delfino, Out, Elbow
No major injuries to report
Key Storyline: Three-Pointers
The Rockets tied the record for most three-pointers made in a half (14) and game (23) Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors. They likely would have broken the record if GSW coach Marc Jackson didn’t order his players to intentionally foul in the waning minutes of a blowout.
If Houston gets hot like that again, they will beat anyone in the NBA—including the defending champs.
The Heat aren’t likely to roll over, but they aren’t exactly the best at defending beyond the arc. Opponents shoot an average of 22.1 threes per game against them, the fifth most attempts in the league.
Miami’s defense allows about 35.9 percent of those to fall or around 7.9 per contest. As long as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the athletic perimeter players are closing out and getting a hand up, it’s going to take a miracle for the Rockets to shoot that well again.
Key Matchup: Chandler Parsons vs. LeBron James
Parsons is truly one of the best, most efficient, young small forwards in the entire NBA, but he’s simply outclassed when going up against the reigning MVP.
Even with the former Florida Gator in the midst an elite stretch of all-around performances (17.8 points, 5.8 assists, 5.2 rebounds in 36 minutes of play over the past five games), he’s going to be slowed down and exhausted just trying to keep LBJ from single-handedly destroying the Rockets.
The last time these two met, LeBron went off for 38 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and buried five triples in a 113-110 Miami win. However, Parsons wasn’t exactly a slouch—piling in 25 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in the same 40 minutes that King James played.
Unfortunately, Chandler just logged 33 minutes on Tuesday night and hasn’t had adequate time to rest his legs in preparation for this contest. That’s going to be the key difference and a main reason why James handily wins this matchup.
Predicted Starting Lineups and Key Reserves
Rockets Starting Lineup
G Jeremy Lin
G James Harden
F Chandler Parsons
F Patrick Patterson
C Omer Asik
Rockets Key Reserves
F Marcus Morris
G Toney Douglas
G James Anderson
Heat Starting Lineup
G Mario Chalmers
G Dwyane Wade
F LeBron James
F Udonis Haslem
Heat Key Reserves
F Shane Battier
G Norris Cole
G Ray Allen
F Chris Andersen
While the Rockets are coming off the biggest scoring barrage of the 2012-13 campaign, the Heat are still trying to digest LeBron’s epic game Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
James piled in 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but he shot a ridiculous 13 of 14 from the field to get there. It was an extremely efficient performance (including 5-of-6 shooting from the FT line) and just shows that the best keeps getting better.
If LBJ has truly turned another corner in his illustrious career and started becoming a deadly efficient scorer, Houston will have no hope of stopping him Wednesday night.
This game may be close for a stretch, but eventually, the Rockets are going to wear down and the Heat will prevail at home—a place they traditional dominate opponents.
Heat 99 – Rockets 92