MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Heat will face a tough test when they hit the American Airlines Arena court on Tuesday.READ MORE: Tracking The Tropics: Sam Remains Major Category 4 Hurricane Heading North As We Watch Two More Systems In Atlantic
No team has fewer losses than the Golden State Warriors. That statement might not have remained true going into this week if it weren’t for a journeyman who is ninth on the team in playing time.
Marreese Speights heads to his native Florida riding an out-of-nowhere hot streak, and the rolling Warriors may need it to continue to help make up for the absence of one or two frontcourt starters Tuesday night against the Heat.
Golden State (10-2) began a five-game road trip Sunday by notching a fifth straight win, 91-86 over Oklahoma City behind Speights’ 28 points. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, both among the league’s top 10 in scoring, totaled 35 points on 11-of-35 shooting.
Speights was the only Warrior to make at least half of his attempts, going 11 for 18, as the team won despite shooting a season-worst 35.5 percent.
With his fourth team in his seventh NBA season, Speights has been vital to Golden State staying hot with a team-best 79 points over the past four games in just 76 minutes. The St. Petersburg native and former Florida Gator has shot 63.0 percent in that span.
“This is all the work I did over the summer all paying off for me,” said Speights, who is averaging 14.4 minutes and wasn’t even used in a game earlier this month. “Beginning of the year, I wasn’t really playing that much so I made sure I stayed ready. Every opportunity I get I’m gonna go out there and play as hard as I can.”
Speights’ outburst has helped atone for Curry scoring more than 20 only once in the last six games and Thompson failing to do so in three straight.
“He’s getting an opportunity and playing confident and showcasing what he can do,” Curry said after Speights matched the second-highest point total of his career. “It says a lot about him that he stayed ready, being in and out of the rotation early in the season.”
He’ll surely remain a major part of the rotation Tuesday with David Lee (strained hamstring) still sidelined and Andrew Bogut possibly sitting out. The starting center left Sunday with a right orbital contusion and is questionable for this game.READ MORE: ⚠️ Warning: Major Traffic Shift Coming For I-395 Ramp To I-95
The injury-plagued Bogut confirmed via his Twitter account that there was no fracture and also complimented Speights.
“Good win warriors ! CT scan all clear (for once),” Bogut tweeted. “Bit of fluid but should be right…Shout out to Mospeights16 mobuckets KILLING!”
While Golden State is 5-1 on the road, the Heat had lost three straight home games before beating Charlotte 94-93 on Sunday only after the lowly Hornets missed three potential go-ahead shots in the final seconds.
“I’m just glad we won. For real,” said Chris Bosh, whose 12-footer with 31 seconds left proved to be the winning basket.
Bosh is averaging 26.7 points in the last three games, and Mario Chalmers has been hot with averages of 20.0 points and 7.0 assists over the past six.
Luol Deng had 26 points Sunday, and the Heat are 5-1 when he scores 14 or more.
Miami (8-6), still without Dwyane Wade (hamstring), now looks to match a season high with a third consecutive victory.
“It’s all about having patience,” Deng said. “I think everybody in the locker room really believes in what we can be. … There’s gonna be ups and downs, but it’s really about every day everybody’s coming in and sticking with it and really working.”
Golden State has won its last two visits to Miami and split last season’s series as Curry averaged 32.5 points.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)MORE NEWS: 'Please Return Stewie': Miami Springs Family Pleads For Return Of Missing Blind, Deaf Elderly Dog
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