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Danny

HEAT at Kings Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw)

The Miami HEAT continue their road trip in Sacramento where they take on the Kings. The HEAT have lost two straight, but are still atop the Eastern Conference standings at 23-11. The Kings are 13-23. Tip off is set for 10 PM; coverage on Sun Sports starts at 9:30 PM.

1. A day later, what lingers from the loss in Portland?

Couper Moorhead: I’m not sure there is all that much to be upset about from that game. The HEAT had some odd turnovers – LeBron seemed to lose his handle on the ball more than I can ever remember – and got a little too relaxed for parts of the fourth quarter, but the Blazers executed some brilliant plays down the stretch and enjoyed a nice Wes Matthews step-back three while Miami players missed on some wide open shots of their own. Miami didn’t play a perfect game, but the Blazers clearly wanted a win which was why most of their starters went over 40 minutes. Another day on a long road trip.

Danny Martinez: This might surprise some, but the only thing that lingers is that the HEAT played very well on the defensive end. The shots at the end didn’t go the HEAT’s way, but they’s going to happen over the course of an 82 game season. The HEAT have had their fair share of late game shots go their way, so there’s nothing to be upset about. The defense really was excellent all night. The HEAT players rotated quickly, blocked shots, tipped passes and caused all kinds of trouble of the Blazers. That’s more important that a January win. The defense is starting to click. Not much else matters from that game.

2. DeMarcus Cousins has gotten a lot of attention recently. Is he Sacramento’s key to beating Miami?

Couper: Pretty much. When Cousins is playing well, taking good shots and finding teammates for open looks –which he does better than you might expect – then Sacramento is capable of beating anyone on their home floor. But when he’s not, he’s usually still playing and taking up space that the Kings don’t exactly have a ton of with their lack of shooters. Cousins is a monster on the offensive glass so he’ll be a test for the HEAT in that realm, but he also doesn’t shoot very well at the rim for a big man, which might mitigate a few second-chances Miami could give up.

Danny Martinez: Yes and no. Take a quick glance at the numbers and you’ll see that when Cousins plays well so do the Kings. He’s their best player and when he’s engaged, look out. So yes, the HEAT need to key on Cousins. But as we saw in the Portland game, there’s no predicting how an opponent will get their points. For the most part, the HEAT shutdown Portland’s first and second options. It was the third and fourth options that made the difference. While Cousins might be the key, the HEAT still have to be mindful of Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas and others.

3. Tyreke Evans was once a rookie putting up one of the few 20-5-5 seasons in the history of rookie seasons. What happened since then?

Couper: The Kings can’t play him at point guard because while he has strong playmaking skills, they are more of a complimentary skillset than the sort that manages a team’s entire offense. There is still a ton of talent here, but in today’s NBA it’s very, very difficult to get by if defenses can lay off you whenever you have the ball. It works for Rajon Rondo, but Evans has been a different case.

Danny: There is no right answer here. Evans has struggled to progress as a shooter, hasn’t really found a positional home and has battled an assortment of injuries. One or two of those would be enough to stunt a player’s growth. Combine all three and the player is stuck spinning his wheels. The encouraging thing is that Evans has gotten back to his rookie level of production this season. He’s scoring at a decently efficient rate and is doing just about everything else on the floor. That next step up, however, is probably the hardest one to make. If Evans can stay healthy and at one position, he’s got a chance to blossom.

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If Cousins plays that is. he might be sat down for that elbow against Vinsanity.

Regardless, the media is starting to get on the Heat's case. That means I expect a decent game from the team.

and hopefully this is a game where LeBron sits down and rests more then usual.

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I'm just hoping MIAMI gets back into the win column,doesn't matter how they look getting there.I would like to see the starters get some much needed rest however.Since the Kings aren't a team that strikes anyone as dangerous,I wonder what approach MIAMI brings into this game since they've been playing uninspired all season thus far,with the exception of the Thunder game...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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Ahhh, Rio forcing the time out with a timely three. Rio is good enough to play with the big three, but he's barely good enough to play with the big three. If he plays like I have a feeling he will tonight, and like he played in a few playoffs last year, he's MORE than good enough to play with the big three. He's Rad.

TOLD YA! Two threes in a row.

Then an airball. FFFFFFN CHALMERS

And then a third triple in the 1st quarter! FFFFFFFFFFNNN CHALMERS! You streaky sod!

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All the way from our baseline, three passes, one dribble bounce an alley ooop. MIAAMIIIIII HEEEEEAAAAAAT

Any body else see that???

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Here we go again having a big lead then after collpase in the 2nd half, i want to see some consistency and 48 min of bball...

No no no... 1st 46 minutes just stay in there. Slack off on D. Last 2 minutes force it for the win.

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Can we see Jarvis please? If he doesn't see this quarter I don't think we'll see him touch the court for his contract. (I wasn't expecting to see him either)

Well with Rashard Lewis heating up it won't happen any time sooner

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There he comes, Jarvis Varnado, let's see what he's got; Welcome with a foul, which wasn't exactly a foul... nice attempt to block

Well, nice hook shot by Varnado against two players

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glad to see J.V in action.

I hope that convinces Spo to let him play more often, nice block by Varnado

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Yep had the hookshot, which wasn't expected and the block that was. I think he should get a few more min in certain games, he should if he gets the chance focus on trying to rebound that why he would get time on the court. Nice to see him and jorts get some time on.

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I didn't get to watch because I'm out right now but I looked up the box score on my phone. HOLY **** MARIO HAD 10 3's?

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That's how champions play when going against inferior competition. No starters in the fourth,with the exception of RIO,and the bench players got adequate minutes.And speaking of RIO...'kaboom!'...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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