In the midst of their six-game road trip since the All-Star break, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors will take on Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena. Golden State, with a league-best 50-5 record, will face a tough challenge against Miami, who are currently riding a three-game winning streak and sitting at third place amongst the Eastern Conference Standings. In their first matchup, Golden State came away with the win in a hard-fought battle at Oracle Arena. Look for this game to be just as competitive as the last, as the Heat will look to even the season series at one game a piece and avoid the season sweep.
The Warriors will need to maintain the momentum heading into their matchup with the Heat as they look to finish their road trip on a strong note. After tonight’s game, they’ll face the Orlando Magic for the second-half of their back-to-back games, before ending their road trip with a highly-anticipated rematch with the Oklahoma City Thunder. A win, and even more so a convincing win, over the Heat could provide the defending champs an extra boost to avoid a slump before they head back home. On the other side, knocking off the best team in the league would further increase confidence for a Miami Heat squad looking to maintain their spot in the standings.
Miami: Staying Resilient
Going up against the defending champions and best team in the league would naturally leave a team somewhat intimated going into the game, right? According to one Miami Heat player, that isn’t the case.
Rookie Justise Winslow made a bold statement about his team’s matchup with Golden State, commenting, “No one in this locker room is intimidated by them…We respect them. That’s what this game is about. Earning respect and giving it. But no one is intimidated.”
No one can truly blame Winslow for his words heading into the matchup. Truthfully, some might encourage it. If a team wants to pull the upset and knock off Golden State, confidence, amongst other things, is surely a necessity.
Golden State: Consistency From Start To Finish
After a rough start on their road trip at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers, the Warriors have managed to string together back-to-back wins, looking for a third in Miami. Yet it can be argued that neither of those wins have been convincing, or at least by the standards that we are used to seeing by Golden State. The Warriors have either manhandled opponents from the tip-off or stayed toe-to-toe and grinded out victories against tough opponents. Yet in their last few games, we have seen them either get off to a slow start or let commanding leads slip away.
Against the Atlanta Hawks Monday night, the Warriors held a 19-point lead at the half, before allowing the Hawks to come away with a 36-point third quarter and cut the lead to just one heading into the fourth. Even though they came away with the victory, Golden State simply can’t allow a lapse like that to remain constant in the future, especially when it could prove to be even more detrimental come playoff time. A strong, resounding victory in typical Golden State fashion is just what the Warriors need at the moment.
Tip-off is approximately at 4:30 PM PT, and can be viewed on NBA League Pass.