Kings-Heat Preview

The Miami Heat needed an improbable late comeback to pull off

perhaps their most impressive win of the season.

Extending their series winning streak to 10 in a row against the

hapless Sacramento Kings on Friday night doesn’t figure to be as

nearly as challenging.

The Heat (19-6) looked as though they were on the way to losing

to Indiana for the second time in nine days Wednesday, trailing by

15 midway through the third quarter. However, Miami chipped away

enough to put itself in position for a 10-0 game-ending run and a

97-94 victory.

Dwyane Wade, whose 19.9 scoring average is his lowest since he

was a rookie, tallied nine of his season-high 32 points in the

fourth quarter.

“It shows we’re a team that’s been there before,” Wade said. “No

matter what the score is we always feel we have an opportunity to

win the game.”

Wade has missed six games due to knee soreness but is averaging

27.7 points over his last three contests while hitting 61.1 percent

of his shots.

“Every game is different but his aggressiveness tonight is an

indication that his knee – it’s obviously not 100 percent – but

it’s feeling good,” said LeBron James, who had 24 points, nine

rebounds and seven assists despite playing on a sore left ankle

after he twisted it in Monday’s win over Utah.

James is averaging 10.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists over his last

six games and 30.0 points over his last 12 matchups with

Sacramento.

The Heat’s nine-game winning streak over the Kings is their

third-longest active streak against one team. They’re also looking

to improve to 6-0 against Western Conference foes and 23-3 all-time

at home versus Sacramento.

The Kings (7-17) are 2-7 on the road following Wednesday’s

124-107 loss in Atlanta. They led by two entering the fourth before

being outscored 39-20 to fall for the 10th time in 13 games.

Sacramento allowed a season-high 58.0 field goal percentage and

Atlanta was 15 of 25 from 3-point range, including eight by Kyle

Korver.

“I guess I’m not doing a good enough job of giving them a game

plan that they can execute,” coach Michael Malone said. “And I’m

not doing a good enough job of explaining who the players are on

their team that can make shots.”

Offense, however, hasn’t been a problem for the Kings as they’re

averaging 104.0 points over their last eight. Rudy Gay scored 22 on

Wednesday and is averaging 19.0 points on 52.9 percent shooting

since being acquired from Toronto. He was shooting 38.8 percent for

the Raptors.

DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and is averaging 25.0 along with

12.4 rebounds over his last seven games. He had 24 points and 15

rebounds in Sacramento’s last meeting with Miami, a 141-129

double-overtime road loss on Feb. 25. Cousins had averaged 8.5

points over his first four career matchups with the Heat while

shooting 24.5 percent.

James had 40 points and 16 assists in the last meeting, while

Wade scored 39.