Matchup: Houston Rockets vs Miami Heat
Records: Rockets (16-14), Heat (13-16)
Where to Watch
Date: Friday, Dec. 21
Time: 6:30 am
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Surely nobody expected last year's Conference Finalists, the Houston Rockets, to begin the season's first 25 games with a 11-14 record.
The fact of the matter is that the team returning this season was just not the same as last year's. Battling through injuries, roster depth issues and defense, the team seems to have found some rhythm in their current 5-game winning streak (ties the season-best).
James Harden has been the spark behind their recent win streak, averaging 38.6 points, 7.8 assists, and 6.4 rebounds on 51.8% shooting from the field. The team, as a whole, seems to have marginally improved but it's more or less been a show put on by the reigning MVP.
From being ranked in the bottom three in the Western Conference, the Rockets have suddenly jumped into the Playoff picture (currently ranked 7th). Post this Miami road game, the Rockets have some tough home games to look forward (vs. OKC, SAS, and BOS), ones that would give their streak a fitting challenge.
While the Rockets have played four of their last five games at home at the Toyota Center, the Miami Heat are taking the court after completing a six-game West Coast trip three days earlier.
Despite going 4-2 on this trip, the Heat will have to stare at the next two months of their season without their point guard Goran Dragic while their shooting guard Dion Waiters is already rehabbing from an ankle injury. Fortunately, on completion of their trip, Miami now play five of their next six games at home.
- This contest in Miami is the Rockets' sixth back-to-back of this season. So far, they are 3-2 on the second night of their previous back-to-backs.
- Houston takes their sub .500 7-9 road record to Miami where the Heat are 5-9 at home at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
- The Rockets will be heading into this contest without James Ennis (Hamstring), Carmelo Anthony (Coach's Decision) and Nene (Rest).
- On the other hand, the Heat would be missing a couple of players for this game - Goran Dragic (Knee) and Dion Waiters (Ankle). They also have three players who are game-time decisions - Tyler Johnson (Head), Justice Winslow (Ankle), and Josh Richardson (Hip).
Last Time They Played
Date: Feb. 8, 2018
Score: Rockets 109, Heat 101
Rockets: James Harden - 41 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals on 52.0% shooting
Heat: Goran Dragic - 30 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds on 64.7% shooting.