With Miami coming to town on a 7 game winning streak the forecast is sad and dreary. The Heat hasn’t needed anyone other than Wade to beat the Kings in the past, and now they have two new stars. Last season, the HEAT swept the season series, 2-0, and is 11-1 in their last 12 match-ups. Miami is 28-16 all-time versus the Kings in the regular season, and is 9-13 in games played in Sacramento.
Like the Kings, Miami won 2 of their 1st three road game, and started the season 3-1 but lost all 4 of their road games in November. But, after going 10-7 thru Oct & Nov, the Heat has started to jell and have won all 6 of their games in December including all 4 road games. For the season they are 4-4 against Western Conference team with wins against the Twolves, the Suns, the Warriors and Jazz, and losses against the Jazz, Grizzlies, Hornets, and Mav’s.
The Heat is 13th in scoring at just over 100 ppg, but they are 3rd in point differential, outscoring their opponents by 8.7 ppg but have won the last seven games by double-figures. For the season they are 4th in FG% and 9th in 3P%, but their FG% is up to 51.2% and their 3P% is up to 45.8% in December, as is their Offense and Defensive Rebounding and Assists. And they have the lowest turnover rate in the league. Plus, they’re also the 3rd best team at getting to the FT line and shoot FT’s at around 77%.
Defensively, Miami is only average to below average in rebounding, blocking shots and in steals, but they still allow the 3rd lowest eFG% in the league. They allow their opponents the 3rd lowest FG%, and the 2nd lowest 3P%. They allow the 4th lowest percentage at the rim, and the 7th lowest percentage inside 10 ft.
Wade, James, and Bosh account for 65 of Miami’s 100 ppg. With Udonis Haslem recovering from his Nov 23rd surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left foot, the Heat’s next top scorers and only real 3pt threats are James Jones and Carlos Arroyo. Jones the 6-8 SF is averaging 8.8 pts and 4.4 rebounds in 21 mpg. He’s shooting .615 from three on 16-26 shooting in the month of December, and has only taken 4 shots that weren’t threes. Arroyo the 6-2 PG had been shooting .500 percent from three, but is only 3-9 in December, averaging just 6 pts, 2 rebs and 2 assists in 26 minutes.
Prior to his injury on Nov 20th, Haslem was Miami’s rebounding leader. So on Nov 23rd they waived Jerry Stackhouse and signed Erick Dampier. But, Dampier is only contributing 1pt and 3 rebs in 13 mpg over the 8 games since he joined the team. And, Illgauskas has only contributed 6 pts and 5 rebs in 18 mpg. The player who has been able to pick up the slack since Haslem’s injury is Dwyane Wade who has averaged 7.5 rpg over the last 11 games. Wade has led the HEAT in rebounds in six of Miami’s last eight games and has now lead the team in rebounds ten times this season. Wade is also averaging more than 2 steals per game in Miami’s last seven games.
The HEAT have out rebounded each of its’ last seven opponents, enjoying a 316-255 edge on the boards during the seven-game stretch (+8.7 rpg). Miami is 12-2 this season when out rebounding its opponent and has won the last nine times it has outrebounded its opponent.
Either LeBron (12 times) or Wade (10 times) has been the leading scorer in Miami’s 24 games. And either, Wade (10 times) or Bosh (7) or Haslem (7) have been the leading rebounders. And, the leading assist leaders have been LeBron (17 times) and Wade (6 times). So, it should be pretty obvious that the 3 big names have taken control of all aspects of the team’s game. And, while you’re never going to shut down all three, you’re going to have to either outshoot them or shut down one of the three to win.
Obviously, the Kings aren’t favored, and are going to need multiple things to go their way to pull out a win. First they will have to out rebound the Heat, we have the bigs to do the job, but someone is going to have to put a body on Wade. And the Kings will have to do a better job at protecting the basket; currently teams are shooting 72% at the rim against us which means we have to help off of screens. Next we need 4 players back after every missed shot, if not; we’re going to see a dunk-fest from Wade or LeBron because if Wade or LeBron rebound the ball they will run. Next, one of the stars is going to have to have a bad shooting day for Miami. And, it wouldn’t hurt if the Kings had a 3pt shooting game like the one against the Mav’s. Hope springs eternal. But, I imagine that Miami will end up having the kind of game that we had against the Wizards, where almost everything goes their way. I’ll be watching to see some exciting plays by some special players and hoping that our two future stars can make us proud. Go Kings.
On a side note, I’ve posted this elsewhere, but I wouldn’t be unhappy if the Kings sat Tyreke for this game and next week’s road trip. But, then I didn’t buy tickets to see him play against Wade.