Suddenly, at just the right time of the season, the Heat have become very good at defending their home floor. After wandering aimlessly through their first 28 home games and splitting them right down the middle at 14-14, Miami will look to win their 7th straight game at the AAA tonight when the Spurs come to South Florida. Both teams are riding recent hot streaks and are trying to set themselves up for some kind of playoff run.
The Heat will get Dorell Wright back from his 2-game suspension, but its unclear what his role will be. He was struggling mightily in the games leading up to his absence, and James Jones has been playing well with his newfound minutes. Jones has always been a sharpshooter and that has not changed, but the Heat playing so much zone D has worked in Jones' favor. He hasn't been the best man-up defender but the zone allows him to use his quick feet and long arms to his, and the teams, advantage.
Not long ago the Heat was right on the brink of not even being in the Eastern Conference's top-8, but now they are tied with Charlotte for 6th place. Miami has put a little space between them and 8th place Toronto, who they lead by 2 games. They are also just 2 games back of 5th place Milwaukee.
Over the Heat's last 7 games, Dwyane Wade and Quentin Richardson have both been playing very well. Wade is averaging 30.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.3 steals in those 7 games. Q has been shooting the lights out from beyond, hitting 27-of-57 (47.3%). The Heat could also welcome back Michael Beasley, who has missed the last two games with a bruised left thigh. He said on Monday that his status for the game is 50-50.
Miami is expected to sign guard Kenny Hasbrouck, who spent the summer playing in the Heat's developmental camp before an injury kept him out of training camp. He's been playing in the D-league with the Rio Grand Valley Vipers, averaging 16.9 points, and since the Heat have two free roster spots they can sign Hasbrouck for the rest of the year and have him eligible for the playoffs. Coach Spoelstra was high on Kenny over the summer. Said Spo:
"He's got a strong body, has a knack for penetrating, getting into the paint, and he improved his shooting over the summer. We don't really know what his natural position is. This summer, we had him strictly as a point. We liked him. We didn't want to cut him. Then he got hurt."
- San Antonio won the only meeting between the two teams this season back in December by 30, and have won 4 of 5 overall against the Heat.
- The 6-game home win streak by Miami is their best since winning 13 in a row at the AAA back in the 06-07 season.
- The Spurs will be without Tony Parker, who is out for the rest of the regular season. 2nd year guard George Hill has been playing very well for Parker.
- Carlos Arroyo is coming off of his first double double against the season; he had 12 points and 10 assists against the Sixers on Sunday.
- James Jones has played over 10 minutes in each of the last four games. He's hit 6-of-11 from 3-point range in those games (54.5%).
- Rafer Alston was suspended for the rest of the season, something that was more a formality at this point. We all knew that we'd seen the last of Alston in a Heat uniform this season...and if you didn't, you do now!
- It will be Noche Latina Night at the AAA and the home team will be wearing their ‘El Heat' black jerseys.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30. On a personal note, I wanted to thank you guys for your kind words and well wishes during my health issues, which are hopefully behind me for good. The past few months we have been growing a nice little community here at PIM and that is all thanks to you guys, and I couldn't appreciate it more. Lets go Heat!!