The daily NBA preview takes it to the rim with tips for out-of-sorts heavyweights the Houston Rockets’ tricky assignment against the in-form Miami Heat.
12:00 (AEDT), Thu 28th Nov @ Toyota Center
History: Played 65: Heat 33 V Rockets 32
Last meeting: November 3, 2019: Heat 129 d Rockets 100 at American Airlines Arena
Final Thoughts: Western Conference big dogs the Houston Rockets host Eastern Conference surprise-packets the Miami Heat in the pick of a massive schedule of NBA games.
The Heat already have an emphatic win over the Rockets under their belt this season. A rollicking 46-14 first quarter set the tone for a 129-120 victory in Miami. The Heat shared the load, though Jimmy Butler (18 pts, 7 reb, 9 asst, 4 stl) was particularly influential.
Miami have surged to a 12-4 record with six wins in their last seven games. After copping a 27-point beating in Philadelphia on the weekend, they responded with a 117-100 home win over the Hornets. Six players scored 15-plus points – including Kelly Olynyk, who also pulled down 16 rebounds from the bench.
The 11-6 Rockets are trying to bust out of a three-game slump. Houston have lost to the Nuggets and Clippers on the road, and the Mavericks at home in the past week. James Harden leads the NBA for points per game (37.9) and Clint Capela is second for rebounds (14.7). But the Rockets are struggling on the defensive end.
The Rockets are ranked 18th defensively, while the Heat are second. But will that be enough for Miami to contain the hosts’ third-ranked offence?
The Rockets are 6-2 at home; the Heat are 5-4 on the road.
The Heat have managed five wins in their last nine encounters with the Rockets. But they have lost five of their last six in Houston.
Last season James Harden went off for 58 points in the Rockets’ 121-118 win at Toyota Center.
Given both teams’ recent formlines, the Heat look a solid option with the start as the Rockets try to iron out their wrinkles.
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