HEAT Face Rockets In Tough Road Test

Tyler Herro
Photo Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

After a bounce-back victory over the Hornets on Monday, the HEAT have a tough task ahead in the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at 8PM.

You may remember Miami’s historic outing against Houston earlier this month in which the squad set franchise records for points in a first quarter (46) and point differential after one (plus-32) in a 129-100 drubbing. And while the HEAT dominated from the start, the Rockets are certainly capable of playing better and did so by rattling off eight straight wins immediately following that loss.

Naturally, James Harden has been the catalyst for Houston, averaging a league-high 37.9 points (yes, you read that right), 8.0 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals on 43.6 percent shooting thus far this season.

“I know they’ve dropped three in a row, but after we played them here, they went on a run and they were playing great basketball,” Erik Spoelstra said. “And Harden is continuing to take his game to a totally different level. It’s really remarkable, his efficiency and how much he continues to play at such a ridiculously high level.”

The HEAT have also continued to play at a high level, as they’re still ranked in the Top 10 in net rating (plus-6.2), assist percentage (65.6), true shooting percentage (59.4) and rebound percentage (52.9).

Jimmy Butler plays a major role in those metrics, but it’s been a collective effort from nearly everyone on the roster. And if Miami wants to come away victorious, its best bet is to stay on the attack against a Rockets team that struggles defensively.

Not only does Houston give up the third-most threes in the league, but they also allow a ton of looks from both the paint and restricted area. Furthermore, Clint Capela is questionable with an illness, so we’ll see if the HEAT can take advantage in the event that he can’t suit up.

INJURY/STATUS UPDATE: Jimmy Butler (Illness) is questionable. Justise Winslow (Concussion) is probable. Derrick Jones Jr. (Left Hip Strain), Daryl Macon (G League - Two-Way), KZ Okpala (Left Achilles Strain) and Dion Waiters (Team Suspension) remain out for Miami.

Clint Capela (Illness) is questionable, while Michael Frazier (G League - Two-Way), Eric Gordon (Right Knee Arthroscopy), Gerald Green (Left Cuneiform Fracture) and Nene Hilario (Left Adductor Strain) are all out for Houston.

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