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Heat look to stay hot at Memphis

Dwyane Wade should be back as the Heat take the road against a Western Conference team for the first time this season.

Chris Bosh (Middle) looks to split Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to get the hole
Chris Bosh (Middle) looks to split Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to get the hole
Marc Serota

Heat fans have very little reason for legitimate concern these days. In the big picture, whatever weakness they have at this point is minor and a function of the reality that there is no such thing as a team with zero weakness.

Nonetheless, there is a sentiment among fans that if there is one thing they would be more comfortable with, it's that the team have some more productive interior players, or at the very least, some plain old size.

One one level, people overrate size that isn't actually productive. Zydrunas Illgauskas, Erick Dampier and Ronny Turiaf, theoretically, offer plenty of size. They just weren't good at this stage of their careers.

But there is also the perception that Chris Bosh and Shane Battier cannot consistently match up with teams that have formidable frontline's that bring size and skill to the table. This is a rare case where the Heat can be exposed on defense, even though the Heat's smaller frontcourt presents its own issues on the other end.

It's very rare that this issue presents itself, but when the Heat play at Memphis on Nov. 11, one of those situations will be on the court, because Memphis rolls out two All-Star caliber post players in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

Randolph and Gasol combine for nearly 22 rebounds and over 30 points per game between them, and as a team, the Grizzlies are tied for fifth in the league on the young season with a +5 rebounding differential. In 2011-12, the Grizzlies we're 11th in the NBA in rebounding differential and were 7th in the league in defensive rating as well as 5th in field goal percentage against. They have a reputation as a physical group that plays to its size.

The Heat were also a strong rebounding team last season (6th in rebounding differential), but have been a below average18th in that statistic in 2012-13.

This game would be a good time to start to turn that around.

The Heat have proven that they are arguably the best defensive team in the game and an elite rebounding group (Largely because of the rebounding of their wings), but a matchup like this is intriguing because of the size differential.

It's early in the season, but it's worth paying close attention to how well Bosh, Battier and LeBron James when he goes down low, handle their assignments, in addition to Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony off the bench.


- The Heat expect Dwyane Wade to be available after missing the last game against the Hawks with a cold.

- LeBron James took part in practice today and is is also expected to be fine after sustaining a minor knee injury last game.