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Game Preview: Heat face the Rockets in the second of their back to back

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After last night’s big win against the Warriors, Miami will hope to make it two for two as they face the Rockets.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Miami Heat
Dec 20, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Houston Rockets guard Brandon Knighy (2) guards Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 101-99.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (27-33) take on the Houston Rockets (36-25) tonight in the second of back to back and after last night’s big win over the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, they will be hoping that the momentum carries over as they head to the heart of Texas.

Houston will provide another tough test for the Heat as they look to keep the season alive and the hopes of making the playoffs a real possibility. Miami are now just half a game back of the eight seed Charlotte Hornets, who the Rockets faced last night and claimed a 118-113 victory.

The Rockets have enjoyed a great run of late and have won seven of their last ten. They are also riding a three-game win streak so this will be far from easy should the Heat claim another big win. Coach Mike D’Antoni’s team sit fifth in the Western Conference and have an excellent home record which has seen them lose just nine games out of a possible 30.

The key to the season so far for Houston has been the dominance of current league MVP James Harden, who has been on a tear. Harden leads the league in points per game averaging 36.2, and up until just recently, recorded 32 straight games scoring 30+ points in a game.

If the Heat are to win this game then they will not only need to limit Harden but they will also need to limit Houston from behind the arc. The Rockets lead the league in 3PA and 3PM, so it fair to say they rely massively on there outside looks.

Tonight's game will be the second and final meeting between the two teams this season, the first meeting back in December in Miami went to the Heat who claimed a 101-99 victory. That night it was Josh Richardson who led the team with 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Should the team repeat that tonight then they will sweep the season series against Houston for the first time since 2016-17.

It's no secret that Miami come into the game as the underdogs but given the fight they put up the last time they met Houston and also the confidence boost that last night's 126-125 win over the Warriors will provide is massive. With the toughest month of the season drawing to a close, Heat will be looking to see it out with another big statement win.

Probable Starters:

Heat: Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo

Rockets: Chris Paul, James Harden, Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Clint Capela

Injury Report:

Heat: James Johnson (Shoulder) - Out, Hassan Whiteside (Hip) - Out

Rockets: Eric Gordon (Knee) - Out, Iman Shumpert (Calf) - Out, Kenneth Faried (Hip) - Doubtful

Broadcast Info:

Tip-Off: 8:00pm

TV: Fox Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty, Jason Jackson)

Radio: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Mike Inglis)

Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)