Inside the Scope: Golden State Warriors (14-7) x Miami Heat (14-5)
- Tip Off: 4:30 p.m.
- Television: CSN-BA
Miami Heat Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 109.6 (3rd in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 103.6 (tied for 18th in NBA)
- Points: LeBron James, 25.2 PPG
- Rebounds: LeBron James, 8.8 RPG
- Assists: LeBron James, 6.8 APG
- Steals: Mario Chalmers, 1.7 SPG
- Blocks: Chris Bosh, 1.4 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Joel Anthony, 62.5% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Shane Battier, 47.8% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: The Heat Index.
Preview: The Golden State Warriors are currently 4-0 on their current eastern road trip and will try to remain undefeated on their voyage tonight when they take on the defending champions in Miami.
The Dubs have more than likely already seen all of the players that will compose the All-NBA 1st team this season after playing against Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant; but tonight they get the last and best player to complete the five-man group in LeBron James.
The reigning league MVP is having another stellar season and will probably be in the talks for the Maurice Podoloff trophy once again by season’s end given that everything the Miami Heat do starts with him.
James facilitates the offense, scores from multiple places on the court, defends perimeter and interior players and gets the opporunity to decide how to attack opponents in late game situations.
Indeed, according to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, in 46 minutes of clutch play (clutch situations are defined as the last five minutes of the game with the scoring margin within five points), LeBron has produced 37 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists on 13-of-23 field goal shooting.
The numbers bear out the former Cavalier’s excellence in late game situations, but so does the eye test. The three-time league MVP has mixed up his game to incorporate the jumper, post up and drive whereas he previously spent an inordinate amount of time on the perimeter probing the defense. James is much more decisive this season but that’s not necessarily just a product of his own evolution as a player.
The addition of Ray Allen has provided him with better spacing to operate down the stretch of games, especially with Chris Bosh continuously proving himself as an elite marksman when it comes to long 2-point shots.
These players alone will be problematic for the Golden State Warriors in tonight’s contest, but the “resurgence” of Dwyane Wade obviously increases the difficulty of the task at hand. The Marquette product’s demise was obviously greatly exaggerated as he struggled to regain his timing and rhythm early in the season, but he now seems to be back to his old self and is playing in concert with his teammates.
Mark Jackson will have to make some tough decisions tonight, especially if the Heat decline to use a traditional point guard and instead use the five-man unit of James, Wade, Allen, Battier and Bosh. It will force the Dubs’ coaching staff to decide whether to put Curry on Allen or Wade, neither of which is an ideal matchup for the Warriors.
Nonetheless, the Dubs size may prove to more difficult to handle than the Heat anticipate and thus the contest may in fact be more close than anyone projects.
Furthermore, should the game be tight late in the fourth quarter, fans may very well be in for treat as James will be called upon to defend the league’s leading clutch scorer (most clutch points in the NBA according to NBA.com) in Stephen Curry, who will be running pick-and-rolls and running off screens to shake free from the Olympic gold medalist.
Make no mistake, this will be a great way to measure on some level where the Warriors stand in the NBA hierarchy.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
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