Game Preview: Warriors Looking For Win Against Defending Champions
After dismantling the Philadelphia 76ers, the Golden State Warriors will look to go into the All-Star weekend in high spirits, as they welcome the reigning NBA champions Miami Heat on Wednesday. The Heat are off a tough back-to-back game against the feisty Phoenix Suns, and it took every bit of LeBron James’ magic for the champs to get over the hump.
Frontcourt: Miami’s frontcourt features two All-Stars in Chris Bosh and James, who can single-handedly take over the offense on a given night. In their last game against the Heat, Golden State tried to match the small lineups of their opponents by allowing Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green play at the power forward position. Since Mark Jackson usually looks at matchups very carefully (sometimes too carefully) we can probably expect Barnes and Green seeing a lot of minutes regardless if Andrew Bogut is ready to go or not. David Lee went off against the Heat last time around with 32 points and 14 rebounds.
Backcourt: Dwyane Wade missed Miami’s last game, and whether or not he will be playing on Wednesday remains a question mark. He had a decent game against the Warriors last time around, scoring 22 points. In his absence, former Warrior Toney Douglas got the starting nod against the Suns, although he didn’t do particularly well. Mario Chalmers is rarely a major threat offensively, but he picks his spots and can definitely hurt opponents, like he did with his 17 points against Golden State last time around. Ray Allen’s corner threes are always lethal.
Keys to Warriors Victory:
Last contest between these two teams was a high-scoring one, which benefited the Warriors more than it did the Heat. Golden State won 123-114, as Stephen Curry went off for 36 points and 12 assists. At this point, most people know that when the Heat lock down defensively and get consecutive stops, they are tough to beat. While Golden State has improved defensively, the team still has a tendency to get into these shootouts every once in a while, and this could be one matchup where doing so benefits the Warriors more.
As mentioned, Jackson loves playing around with matchups. In Boguts absence, Barnes has done pretty well, although the ridiculous and inexplicable 32-point outburst by Marreese Speights cut into his minutes quite heavily against the 76ers. Barnes was also effective against the Heat in their last game and another decent performance would definitely help Golden State.
Miami Heat (36-14) vs. Golden State Warriors (31-21)
7:30 PM PST, February 12, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
TV: NBA TV
Radio: KNBR 680 AM
Heat Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Mario Chalmers
SG: Dwyane Wade/Toney Douglas
SF: LeBron James
PF: Shane Battier
C: Chris Bosh
Key Reserves: G Ray Allen