Tonight at 8PM, the Miami Heat visit the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. This will be the season finale of the series between the two. The Heat won the first back in Miami on November 1st, 109-89.
Miami just finished a one-game homestand with a 105-87 win over the Atlanta Hawks, and they've won four straight overall. Tonight's matchup is the first of a three-game roadtrip. Miami will go on to play the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.
Houston is closing up a two-game homestand, and they have currently lost three games straight. They started with a 123-122 loss to the Washington Wizards on Saturday. After this game, they'll go on the road for a single game, on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns.
The last time Miami played Houston was on November 1st, when the 1-1 Heat hosted the 0-2 Rockets. Hassan Whiteside had 25 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks to lead Miami to a 109-89 victory after falling behind by 21 points. Dwyane Wade had 20 with eight helpers, Luol Deng had 14 with six rebounds, and Tyler Johnson scored 11 with eight boards off the bench. Marcus Thornton scored 21 to lead Houston in defeat, and James Harden scored 16 with seven assists and six rebounds.
At times, I can be kind of harsh. But it's harsh reality ... and it just comes out the way it comes out. - Udonis Haslem, speaking about his halftime pep talk.
The Dream Shake is SB Nation's source for the Rockets.
The Heat's last time out would see them defeat the Atlanta Hawks 105-87 on Sunday night in Miami. Chris Bosh scored a game-high 18 points, Amar'e Stoudemire had 13 with 12 rebounds and three steals, and Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade scored 17 each for the win. Paul Millsap and Al Horford scored 17 each for the Hawks.
You can feel the corner starting to turn. - Wade
For more on Atlanta, check out Peachtree Hoops.
Houston's last game would see the Rockets lose a 123-122 heartbreaker to the Washington Wizards in Houston despite a 40 point, 11 assist, seven rebound, four steal performance by James Harden. Dwight Howard scored 20 points with seven rebounds, Trevor Ariza had 17 with seven rebounds, and Patrick Beverly scored 15 points with five helpers. The Wizards had eight players in double figures, led by 19 from John Wall, who also dished out 13 assists and grabbed eight rebounds. Marcin Gortat had 13 with 11 boards.
Just a couple blown opportunities. Once again when Dwight goes out of the game, the game changes for us, so we have to figure out a way to work on it. - Harden on Dwight Howard's ejection
Go to Bullets Forever for more on the Wizards.
GameTime: 8PM, NBA TV
All-Time Series: Miami is 29-28 all-time against the Rockets, both their 15th best and 15th worst record against any opponent.
Miami Heat: 27-21, .563, on pace for 46-36. First in the Southeast Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference, ninth in the NBA. Last Five: L-W-W-W-W. Playoff Odds: 81.8%
Houston Rockets: 25-25, .500, on pace for 41-41. Fourth in the Southwest Division, seventh in the Western Conference, 15th in the NBA. Last Five: W-W-L-L-L. Playoff Odds: 61.7%
Miami's starting point guard Goran Dragic played parts of two seasons with the Rockets, averaging 10.7 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game over 88 contests.
Gerald Green played four minutes in one game for the Rockets in 2008, scoring six points in a 25-point win over the Wizards.
I had been using rotoworld.com for the injury report, but they were so frequently wrong that I've switched over to cbssports.com.
Miami Heat: Hassan Whiteside (oblique) is a game-time decision, Chris Andersen (knee) is expected to be back no earlier than February 7th, and Tyler Johnson (shoulder) is out for at least eight weeks.
Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas (back) is a game-time decision, and Sam Dekker (back) is out until at least March 1st.
Probable Starting Lineups
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Dwyane Wade
C - Amar'e Stoudemire
SF - Luol Deng
PF - Chris Bosh
PG - Patrick Beverley
SG - James Harden
C - Dwight Howard
SF - Trevor Ariza
PF - Corey Brewer
Keep your browser here for all your breaking Heat news, the GameThread around tipoff, and other refiinements throughout the season.