Golden State Faces Road Trip Challenge Against Heat
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MIAMI (AP) — While the Golden State Warriors have pulled out wins on the first four stops of their longest road trip of the season, they could have their hands full with a visit to Miami up next.
Having experienced very little road success in this series, the Warriors continue a seven-game trek Wednesday night against a Heat team that’s proved especially dominant on its own court.
Golden State (14-7) has picked up the pace following an uneven start, winning seven of eight and 11 of 14. Much of that success can be attributed to a significant improvement on the road, where the Warriors have compiled an 8-4 record after going 11-22 last season.
“We came in here and worked our tails off and we prepared ourselves for this season,” coach Mark Jackson said. “I didn’t put any limitations on them. But we’re 14-7 with eight road wins.”
The Warriors, on the verge of their longest road winning streak since taking six straight in 2004-05, figure to face one of their stiffer tests Wednesday. Golden State has dropped 14 of 16 in Miami dating to 1995, including the last three while allowing the Heat to shoot 50.0 percent from the field.
Miami (14-5) is shooting an NBA-best 51.8 percent and scoring a league-high 108.6 points per game at home, where it’s won 10 of 11 on the season. The only blemish came Thursday in a stunning 112-92 loss to a New York team that was missing Carmelo Anthony.
While Dwyane Wade had just 13 points and shot 3 of 13 against the Knicks, he’s been outstanding in helping the Heat get back on track. After going 9 for 12 from the floor and scoring 26 in a 106-90 win over New Orleans on Saturday, he shot a career-best 84.6 percent (11 for 13) and had 26 points again in a 101-92 victory over Atlanta on Monday.
“Just trying to be as efficient as I can,” Wade said. “Some nights you go for 11 for 13. Some nights you go 3 for 13. But you just try to continue to be aggressive and continue taking shots.”
Wade, shooting a career-high 50.6 percent, is averaging 29.5 points versus Golden State – his highest mark against any team. The eight-time All-Star could find himself in a very intriguing head-to-head battle with Stephen Curry, who’s been red-hot during the Warriors’ 7-1 run.
Curry has put together a career-high eight consecutive 20-point efforts while going 30 for 58 (51.7 percent) from 3-point range. He was 4 of 7 from beyond the arc in a 104-96 victory at Charlotte on Monday, finishing with 27 points.
The fourth-year player has also averaged 8.1 assists in that stretch.
“The guy’s playing at an elite level right now,” Jackson said. “I know we keep talking about it and, sooner or later, everybody’s going to catch on. But he’s a heck of a basketball player.”
David Lee, who had 25 points and 11 rebounds Monday, has also come up big. He’s averaging 23.6 points and shooting 60.7 percent over the last seven contests, considerably better than his already strong season marks of 18.8 and 51.4.
While Golden State continues to play without injured center Andrew Bogut, Miami could be without forward Udonis Haslem for a second straight game due to the flu.
The Warriors had dropped six straight to the Heat before taking the last matchup 111-106 in overtime Jan. 10, overcoming Curry’s absence and a combined 60 points from LeBron James and Wade. Lee had 20 points and 14 boards.
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