Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat return to the court at the AmericanAirlines Arena for the first time since early January Wednesday night. The Heat have had five days to rest after a rough west coast road trip that saw the team put up a 3-3 record.
On the bright side for the Heat, they won their last two games of the road trip. On the other hand, the Heat beat the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers in those two games, neither of which is likely to make any playoff noise this year.
The Heat open up a stretch of four games, two home and two away, between now and the end of January starting Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are 15-26 on the season and are just 4-6 in their last 10 games and 4-17 on the road this season.
The Heat, despite the rough road trip, has managed to stay atop the Eastern Conference with a record of 26-12. The team has done a great impression of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this year when it comes to home games and road games.
At home, the Heat are 16-3 and nearly untouchable; but on the road, the Heat are just one game above .500 at 10-9 on the season, including three losses on the recent road trip.
The Heat signed power forward/center Chris Anderson recently, but he’s still getting into basketball shape and probably will not play Wednesday night against the Raptors. The Heat hope Anderson can finally help the team’s rebounding woes.
On the season, the Heat is getting outrebounded by a 42-05-38.84 margin per game. Most of the difference in rebounding for the Heat is on the offensive glass where opponents average nearly four rebounds more than the Heat.
The Heat are hoping that getting some help on the glass will allow the team to cut down on LeBron James’ minutes. He’s averaging just less than 39 minutes per game, which the Heat would like to cut down before the playoff run.
However, James is leading the team in shooting percentage, rebounding, assists, steals, and points per game making keeping him off the floor a tough task for head coach Erik Spoelstra.
The Heat and Raptors tip off at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night.