As the Miami Heat attempt to record a winning five-game western trip, it’s uncertain if a hobbled Dwyane Wade will be available to help.
With Wade day to day, the Heat face a Sacramento Kings team that could be missing its second-leading scorer Friday night.
Averaging a team-leading 22.1 points and 5.6 assists, Wade missed Wednesday’s 104-89 loss at Golden State with a hamstring strain suffered during a 78-75 win over the Los Angeles Lakers a night earlier. He also sat seven games in November with a hamstring injury.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said ”rest is on the agenda” for Wade, who might take a more cautious approach to this injury.
”I’ve realized in this situation that you never know what to expect,” said Wade, who turns 33 on Saturday. ”But I tried to be smart this time, and when I felt a little pull, I tried to come out. Last time, it didn’t feel bad, and I was out two weeks, so knock on wood it’s not like that.”
Wade sat out Miami’s last matchup with Sacramento on Dec. 27, 2013, when the Kings (16-22) snapped a 10-game series slide with a 108-103 overtime home victory.
As the Heat (17-22) look to avenge that defeat, their main concern is finishing 3-2 on the trip.
"That’s what we have to focus on," Spoelstra said. "Probably the most challenging and most important game will be this game. But it’s an opportunity to finish above .500."
Miami allowed an average of 87.0 points and 39.4 percent shooting in four games prior to Wednesday, when the Warriors shot 46.9 percent.
Chris Bosh scored 26, Luol Deng added 19 and ex-King Hassan Whiteside had 10 points and 12 rebounds in his first career start, but the Heat were held to fewer than 90 points for the fifth time in six games.
"You don’t know what to do with (the lineup) with a guy out like Dwyane, he does so much for you," Spoelstra said. "It didn’t work (Wednesday) and we’ll see what we do the next game."
Bosh (21.3 ppg), who bounced back after scoring a season-low eight against the Lakers, has scored 20 or more once in nine games at Sacramento.
Rudy Gay, who had 26 points in the last meeting with Miami, might not be in the lineup after leaving Tuesday’s 108-104 overtime loss to Dallas with a knee sprain. He’s day to day for a Kings team that’s alternated wins and losses in the last six games.
Teammate DeMarcus Cousins will be on the court after recording 32 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists and nine turnovers before fouling out Tuesday. Cousins, averaging career highs of 24.2 points, 12.4 boards and 3.2 assists on the season, has averaged 26.2, 14.4 and 5.2 in his past four.
"He certainly stands out as being able to compete with anybody at his position – and exceed it most nights," coach Tyrone Corbin told the Kings’ official website. "I think he’s one of the best big guys and might be the best big guy in the league."
Cousins had 27 points and 17 rebounds in the last matchup in the series and has averaged 26.0 and 13.3 in the past three meetings.