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Danny

HEAT at Warriors Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw)

The Miami HEAT are in Oakland tonight, taking on the Golden State Warriors. Both teams are looking to bounce back from three losses in their last four games. Tip off is set for 10:30 PM; coverage on Sun Sports kicks off at 10 PM.

1. The Warriors have dropped three of their last four, just like the HEAT. Who has had the more troubling stretch?

Couper Moorhead: Neither, really. The Warriors are in the midst of an absolutely brutal stretch of games and those three losses have been to the Clippers, Grizzlies and Nuggets, while the HEAT are on a long road trip and haven’t exactly been giving games away. Miami loses games in January the same way they were losing games in November and until a real and unfixable flaw presents itself, there’s no cause to push the panic button. The Warriors don’t have the same performance history to lean on, but you can’t hold it against a team just because they’re playing some of the best teams in the league. If there is a time to be concerned about Golden State, it would be after this stretch when you would naturally expect them to win a few more games.

Danny Martinez: I don’t think either stretch is all that troubling, but if I had to pick I’d go with the Warriors’. That’s not for any reason other than playoff seeding. They’re right behind the Grizzlies for fourth in the West, which would give them homecourt in the first round. Any time they can make up ground on the Grizzlies, they need to. But, not that’s not how things have gone, and really, it’s not that big of a deal.

2. The narrative continues to focus on rebounding, but is that really the main issue of late?

Couper: A few months ago all anyone wanted to talk about was the HEAT’s three-point defense, but opponents have actually shot better from downtown since December 1st, which marks a bigger change than the one in Miami’s actual defensive rebounding percentage. The point is not that one thing is worse than the other, but that defense, particularly Miami’s system, is about a number of complex relationships between players and space. One of the few things that governs how those relationships play out is energy. As with all things, when you aren’t at your best your weaknesses will show up first, but those same weaknesses don’t necessarily show up when you play like your system demands. One thing is never the whole thing.

Danny: I don’t quite understand the line of thinking that drives us to the HEAT having one “main” issue. The tunnel vision limits our ability to analyze the team as a whole. As I touched on yesterday, with the rebounding we’re talking about fractions of a defensive rebound. Much ado about nothing as far as I’m concerned.

3. When Ray Allen and Steve Nash eventually retire, will Stephen Curry be the best shooter in the league?

Couper: It’s going to be a battle between Curry and Kevin Durant for years to come – full of 50-40-90 seasons – and we will all be privileged to watch it.

Danny: Kevin Durant will probably have a thing or two to say about that, but Curry is certainly in the discussion. When he’s healthy, he can fill it up from all over the floor. He and backcourt mate Klay Thompson are a ton of fun to watch.

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What's up my fellow HEAT fans? Will tonight be the night that our beloved HEAT play a full game of basketball? Do we see a team that plays with pride, passion,and physicality, or a lackadasical effort given by our super squad? Finishing this road trip up strong will cure a lot of heartache for the players,but most of all the fans...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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I want to see how motivated this team is from the get go, will they hoist up jumpers to try and match Golden State's offense or will the Heat try and out run the Warriors from the tip? If this is clearly a rebounding game by the end of the first quarter, my expectations will dwindle...

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I want to see how motivated this team is from the get go, will they hoist up jumpers to try and match Golden State's offense or will the Heat try and out run the Warriors from the tip? If this is clearly a rebounding game by the end of the first quarter, my expectations will dwindle...

There is no "IF"

It will clearly be due to David Lee

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Two symbolical plays almost: a rebound that is taken right out of Boshs hands and Wade not being able to jump high enough to catch the alley oop pass.

To me it's symbolical for the softness of Bosh and the aging of Dwyane

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One big LOL at Bosh getting thrown to the ground by Landry when fighting over a rebound. Congrats!

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Bosh's arms in that picture? Is that photoshopped? My dude has arms like a female

But Congrats to Bron though. Youngest ever to 20k points in league history!

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Lol I know we beat Okc last time but just watching them recently is scary... They've surely improved compared to last season..

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So far,so good. The defense was impeccable in the 1st half,LEBRON is being LEBRON, WADE is showing hustle,but BOSH,well at least he's giving effort. My only complaint is MIAMI seems to stall when LEBRON goes to the bench,along with a few other things. Let's see if MIAMI can put the Warriors away in the 2nd half. And how about that UD40 slam?...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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wth is wrong with bosh? i like his personality but as a player he's become more and more soft every night

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Two symbolical plays almost: a rebound that is taken right out of Boshs hands and Wade not being able to jump high enough to catch the alley oop pass.

To me it's symbolical for the softness of Bosh and the aging of Dwyane

Couldn't have said it better. Those back-to-back plays are a microcosm of the team's issues.

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They should take LeBron James out of the game and get a well deserved rest. There is not need for him to play now that it is beyond reach.

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    • By Joe B.
      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT host the Golden State Warriors Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT fell to the Warriors 107-95 in their last meeting on January 10. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      1: What did the HEAT do well against the Milwaukee Bucks to keep their winning streak going?
      Couper Moorhead: While we almost always focus in on the defensive side of things in this space, when the HEAT put up one of their five most efficient offensive games of the season we have to change things up. It definitely, and obviously, helps when you shoot 13-of-30 from three – especially with Dion Waiters going 5-of-8 and Goran Dragic hitting from about 30 feet off the dribble – but Miami once again shot over 30 shots in the paint and over 60 percent at the rim. That’s almost always a positive combination. 
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      Couper: Rising to the level of competition, which the HEAT don’t usually have much trouble doing given how competitive their players are, and taking advantage when an advantage presents itself. The HEAT hung in that game, and even led by a point at halftime, because they played incredibly hard on both ends but also because they were able to get Hassan Whiteside the ball in great position – lobs and early seals in the paint – with regularity. Though Zaza Pachulia and Draymond Green are both strong defenders, neither has a particularly long reach. So when Whiteside rolls to the rim after setting a pick, there isn’t a ton the Warriors can do to defend an on-target lob unless the weakside help is really on-point. Yes, Golden State has their own advantages with the ridiculous amount of shooting they can put on the floor – remember, Klay Thompson didn’t play last time out – but you start with getting to your strengths.
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      3: How have the Warriors changed with Kevin Durant in their lineup?
      Couper: Well, they’ve gone from being one of the best offensive teams of all time to . . . an even better version of one of the best offensive teams of all time. Stylistically, Durant slides right into Harrison Barnes spot in all those incredible small-ball lineups as a power forward pretty seamlessly, but overall he’s changed the complexion of their usage. Before, it was Steph Curry with a usage rate over 30, Thompson a little below that and then a very balanced number of shots spread out over the rest of the team. Adding another incredibly high-usage player has reduced the amount of offense for everyone else as Curry is down a few percentage points and nobody outside of Curry, Durant and Thompson has a usage rate over 20. This is, in part, because Steve Kerr can stagger Curry and Durant as primary ballhandlers when he chooses, which means they can share the ball when they are on court together and then get shifts where they can dominate the ball as if they were alone.
      That might sound like a taking turns type of offense, but the Warriors also average a remarkable 31 assists a game. They can have dominant ballhandlers, incredible shooters, and still share the ball as much or more than anyone else. So, hey, they’re pretty good.
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      Joe: Adding one of the best players in the league to an already stacked team obviously makes Golden State better, but Steph Curry has had to make a bit of an adjustment with Kevin Durant in the fray. After a tough month of December, Curry has bounced back to average 27 points and seven assists per game on 47 percent shooting in his 10 games in January. While his three-point percentage is still lower than it has been, it should increase as the season continues.
      Other than Curry and Durant still getting used to one another, the Warriors have had pretty much no hiccups this year. Despite the feeling out process, Golden State leads the league in nearly every advanced metric. That just goes to show how talented and well coached the team is.
      Speaking of which, Coach Spo lauded Steve Kerr for the job he’s done with the Warriors.
      “I think what he’s done a tremendous job of is building a team culture there,” Spoelstra said after practice on Sunday. “Guys have bought into it, to their standards, to what they feel is important, and have been able to get some of the best players in the game to sacrifice and commit to a team game, commit to team defense. That’s not easy to do in this league.”
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      Highlights:
      January 10-HEAT at Warriors
      February 24-Warriors at HEAT
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      The HEAT have won three straight and are 14-30 on the year. The Warriors have won seven in a row and stand at 38-6 on the season. Hassan Whiteside leads Miami in rebounds (14.2) and blocks (2.1) per contest. Kevin Durant leads Golden State in points (26.0) and blocks (1.7) per game.  
      Efficiencies (Rank):
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    • By Joe B.
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    • By Joe B.
      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT host the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT fell to the Bucks 116-108 in their last meeting on January 13. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      1: What was your main takeaway from Miami’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks?
      Couper Moorhead: Mainly that Miami found a way to win a close game down the stretch. Much was made of the interesting Hassan Whiteside-Dirk Nowitzki matchup at center, and while Nowitzki earned more open jumpers on the perimeter than Whiteside got efficient looks inside overall, with the rest of the Mavericks so unwilling to challenge Whiteside in the paint those open pick-and-pop looks became one of the only options for Dallas when mostly starters were in at the end. This was especially true when Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews were off the floor to start the fourth quarter, when you got the sense Dallas was trying to hang in long enough to buy their closers some rest, but when James Johnson effectively shut down Barnes in the post the Mavericks were again left with mostly perimeter shots. Miami’s offense enjoyed an explosive performance from Goran Dragic, but it was their defense throughout the quarter which kept Dallas at bay.
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      Couper: These aren’t the defense-first Bucks that you might be used to. Milwaukee is sitting comfortably as a Top 10 offense right now, with news that one of their best scorers in Khris Middleton could return around the All-Star, and they showed why against a Miami team at the end of a six-game road trip with a relentless attack in the paint coupled with efficient outside shooting.
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      Highlights:
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      November 17-Bucks at HEAT
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