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PreHeat: Miami Heat (24-9) visit the Houston Rockets (15-15)

  • The Heat's final game of 2010 won't be easy as it's a road game in Houston on a back-to-back set from playing the night before in Miami. Complicating matters, the Rockets are beginning to show some consistency as they've won 5 in a row to finally get their record to .500 for the first time this season after a disastrous early start. They've also won 8 in a row at the Toyota Center though Miami hasn't lost a road game yet this December and will go for their tenth straight victory away from the AmericanAirlines Arena.
  • Houston leads the all-time series over Miami, 25-22. The Rockets are 14-9 at home against the Heat and 11-13 on the road. The Heat's destruction of the Rockets on February 9th of this year 99-66 tied for the lowest points scored in franchise history and was their largest margin of defeat for the 09-10 season. The Rockets also scored only 66 points against the Heat almost exactly 14 years ago (12/21/96).
  • A loss to the Mavericks on November 29th dropped the Rockets record to 5-12 but much like the Heat did when they had lost to Dallas two days before, the Rockets have had an uplifting December with a 10-3 record. Their schedule has helped their cause as their victory against the Los Angeles Lakers stands as the most impressive among the mediocre teams they've also beat (Grizzlies twice, Pistons, Cavs, Kings twice, Warriors, Clippers, Wizards).
  • Erik Spoelstra before the Knicks game on Tuesday night - "I hope we're not feeling like we have arrived. We think we are one of the most improved teams since the beginning of the year. We have made great strides in our consistency and developed a much better rhythm and balance offensively. We still can get better. Offensively, we have a long ways to go."
  • As for Mike Miller, Spoelstra is sounding cautious - "It is going to be a little slow for the next two or three weeks as we work him in."
  • On the team's defense - "I like what we saw on that last road trip; two dramatically different offensive styles and we were able to defend both of them pretty efficiently."
  • In addition to the firepower that starters Luis Scola, Shane Battier and Kevin Martin are capable of, the Rockets also have Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee and Jordan Hill off the bench who are all more than capable of scoring in double-digits.
  • With Yao Ming no longer a threat and a fading Brad Miller on the bench, the Rockets won't be hurting the Heat inside with their length but their crafty players, notably Scola who could possibly be the craftiest in all the NBA, can find ways to win regardless.
Probable Heat starters: Carlos Arroyo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Probably Rockets starters: Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Shane Battier, Chuck Hayes

Tipoff: 8:30 p.m., Toyota Center. TV: Sun Sports. Radio: WAXY (790-AM), WQBA (1140-AM, Spanish)