Dec 12, 2012; Miami FL, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) is pressured by Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors Take On Defending Champion Miami Heat: Game Preview


The Golden State Warriors have won six straight games, but they will need to put together one heck of a performance tonight if they want to make it seven.

Golden State will take on the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Thursday night in the third game of a seven-game road trip. Both teams are on a hot streak at the moment, with the Warriors on the aforementioned win streak and the Heat having won eight of their last nine games.

History says that the odds are not on the Warriors favor. When facing the defending champion, the Warriors have a paltry record of 2-24 in their last 26 games. However, one of those wins came last season against these very same Heat, when they beat Miami 97-95 last Dec. 12 on Draymond Green’s game-winning layup.

That gives all the evidence needed to prove that the Warriors are able to play with the Heat, and this should make for an entertaining matchup between two teams that are fun to watch.

Tale of the Tape

Warriors

  • Points per game: 102.8 (12th)
  • Field goal percentage: 46.2% (7th)
  • 3-point percentage: 39.3% (4th)
  • Opponents’ field goal percentage: 42.7% (T-4th)
  • Rebounds per game: 46.6 (2nd)
  • Turnovers: 16.9 (29th) 

Heat

  • Points per game: 104.5 (T-5th)
  • Field goal percentage: 51.1% (1st) 
  • 3-point percentage: 38.4% (6th)
  • Opponents’ field goal percentage: 45.2% (T-11th)
  • Rebounds per game: 36.6 (30th)
  • Turnovers: 14.8 (18th)

Respect From the Heat  

Attempting to contain LeBron James will obviously be one of the top priorities for the Warriors, but the league’s defending MVP says the Heat will have to look to contain the Warriors’ starting guards — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — as well.

“They’re nicknamed The Splash Brothers for a reason,” James told the Miami Herald. “We understand we can’t get down on ourselves defensively if they make a few.”

The compliments didn’t stop there. Chris Bosh went as far as dubbing Andre Iguodala the “West Coast version of LeBron,” via Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. 

One thing’s for certain: the Heat respect the Warriors, and will not take them very lightly. The Heat will come out hard and play like defending champions, and it will be up to the Warriors to take their game up a notch and match the Heat’s intensity.

Injury Report

GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist surgery) are out.MIA: Greg Oden (knee rehabilitation), Chris Andersen (sore back) and Dwyane Wade (upper back spasm).

Probable Lineups

GOLDEN STATE (20-13)

  • F Andre Iguodala
  • F David Lee
  • C Andrew Bogut
  • G Klay Thompson
  • G Stephen Curry

MIAMI (24-7)

  • F LeBron James
  • F Shane Battier
  • C Chris Bosh
  • G Dwyane Wade
  • G Mario Chalmers

Game Info

Time: 4:30 PST

Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

Tickets: Pacers @ Miami Heat tickets

TV: LOCAL

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