Had Kobe Bryant botched his buzzer-beating three-point attempt last Friday, we would be talking about a Miami Heat team that dethroned the defensing NBA Champions. Setting all ifs, ands or buts aside, the Heat came away with a respectable 2-2 record over the four game West coast stretch. While victories in Denver and Los Angeles may have been more substantial, two solid wins in Portland and Sacramento are good enough.
Standing at 11-9 the Heat place third in Southeast Division and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference. Their upcoming six-game home stretch could fuel a win streak to boost their overall record significantly. But these home games will not be a stroll through the sand on South Beach. League elites will fly into Miami to test this young team, including the Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz. Other worthy adverseries include the Toronto Raptors and Portland Trailblazers.
If there is ever a time to gain steam and embark on a successful run it is now, at home. Miami must turn the tides at home as they hold a 6-5 record in the American Airlines Arena and are currently o a 2-game home losing streak. Not to mention, the Mavericks have defeated the Heat 10 straight games in a row during regular season play. Last time Miami, defeated the Mavs (outside of the 2006 NBA Finals) was in March 26, 2004.
On a brighter note, Miami is coming off a season-high 30-assist game in Sacramento and is improving their ball distribution. While Dwyane Wade led with a stellar 34 points againts the Kings, Michael Beasley and Quentin Richardson recorded 20 points apiece in a great offensive effort. Couple that with a team scoring average of 106.3 in the West coast trip (higher than their 97.6 ppg season average) and you have a progressing Miami offense.
Home Stand at a Glance
- 12/11 - vs Dallas Mavericks (7:30 PM on SUN)
- 12/13 - vs Memphis Grizzlies (6:00 PM on SUN)
- 12/15 - vs Toronto Raptors (7:30 PM on SUN)
- 12/17 - vs Orlando Magic (8:00 OM on TNT)
- 12/20 - vs Portland Trailblazers (6:00 PM on SUN)
- 12/23 - vs Utah Jazz (7:30 PM on SUN)