OAKLAND (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – It isn’t often that the back-to-back Western Conference champs have struggled in the past few years.
The Golden State Warriors seemed to be in danger of suffering consecutive losses in the regular season for the first time in 124 games before finding their stride on both ends of the court in the second half at Sacramento on Sunday.
The Warriors will try to put together a full 48 minutes of execution on both ends when they host the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
Golden State squandered a 24-point, third-quarter lead at home against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday and trailed at the half against Sacramento before exploding with a 39-point third quarter and putting away a 117-106 victory.
“You saw the third quarter, (Sacramento’s) legs got a little tired,” Warriors forward Kevin Durant told reporters. “We were more physical and we got out and ran. That’s the formula for us.”
The Heat are trying to find their own formula but are stuck in a stretch of 11 losses in 13 games and are not showing much hope of improvement.
Miami got star center Hassan Whiteside back from a four-game absence on Sunday but was still overpowered by the Los Angeles Clippers and shot 36.9 percent from the floor in a 98-86 setback.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Sun (Miami), CSN Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE HEAT (11-28): Miami is last in the Eastern Conference and 29th in the NBA in scoring at an average of 98.1 points and fell to 1-3 on its six-game road trip with Sunday’s setback.
The Heat are in last place in the Southeast Division but haven’t lost any intensity, as evidenced by point guard Goran Dragic being ejected after an altercation with the Lakers on Friday and shooting guard Dion Waiters getting an early shower for drawing a flagrant 2 foul against the Clippers.
“We were playing physical,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after his team was whistled for 21 personal fouls, three technicals and the flagrant on Sunday. “So, it was a heated game. You know, we disagreed on some of those (calls). Those referees were some of the younger guys.”
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (32-6): Golden State trailed by as much as 16 points at Sacramento before leaning on a smaller lineup with Draymond Green at center and racing past the Kings.
The Warriors continue to share the ball offensively better than any other team in the NBA and racked up 33 assists on Sunday while shooting 50.6 percent from the floor. Reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry is beginning to find more spots to take over games and averaged 35 points in the last three contests while burying five 3-pointers in each game and shooting 51.4 percent from the floor.
- Heat SG Josh Richardson (sprained left foot) sat out Sunday and is day-to-day.
- Warriors SG Klay Thompson is 4-of-20 from 3-point range in the last three games.
- Golden State took the last four in the series.
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