MIAMI (AP) — While the Sacramento Kings have been the worst road team in the Western Conference since late November, their futility in Miami goes back much further than 3 1/2 months.READ MORE: Sheriff: Publix Gunman Timothy Wall Wanted 'To Kill People And Children'
The banged-up Heat will try to extend their home winning streak in the series to 13 on Saturday night, and they figure to have at least Dwyane Wade back as they try to avoid falling out of a tie for the final playoff spot in the East.
Already without Chris Bosh for the remainder of the season due to blood clots in his lungs, Miami (27-34) fell short of overcoming a 35-point deficit in Friday’s 99-97 loss in Washington with Wade (sore right hip), Luol Deng (right thigh contusion) and Mario Chalmers (sore knee) also sidelined.
Combined with Indiana’s win over Chicago, the Pacers joined Miami in a tie for eighth place in the conference. A continuation of a second half in which the Heat outscored the Wizards 58-32 would likely ensure holding off the streaking Pacers for another day.
“It was about trying to reveal your collective character. That’s all it was,” said coach Erik Spoelstra of the near comeback. “It shows just what unmitigated effort, passion, connection can accomplish in a short period of time.”
Goran Dragic continued settling into his role in his eighth game with the Heat, scoring 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but he took a hard fall in the third quarter and left with a reported back injury that could keep him out against the Kings.
Miami could certainly use the former Phoenix point guard, who has averaged 20.0 points and shot 58.1 percent over his last three games and has scored 22.2 per game in his last five against the Kings.
It appears that Wade expected to join Dragic in the backcourt against the Kings after referring to Friday’s absence as simply rest.READ MORE: Former CBS4 Journalist Michele Gillen Has Passed Away
“I’m good,” Wade said. “Coach just wanted to rest me tonight. So, I rested.”
The Heat have won 12 straight against Sacramento (21-39) in Miami by an average of 17.0 points since a November 2001 loss. They’re 19-2 overall against the Kings dating to March 6, 2004, including a 95-83 victory in Sacramento on Jan. 16.
Playing without Wade, Bosh and Deng combined for 55 points in that one.
The Kings are 3-17 away from home since Nov. 26, the worst road winning percentage in the West in that time and tied with New York for the league’s lowest win total.
Friday’s 119-114 loss in Orlando dropped them to 1-2 on a season-high eight-game trip, and the win was hardly one to boast about since it came against the NBA-worst Knicks.
Over the past month on the road, Sacramento is 1-6 while allowing an average of 108.6 points on 49.4 percent shooting. Miami, meanwhile, has won three of four at home while scoring 106.3 points per contest.
“The road is a hard place, an unfair place, a place where you might have been the better team in the second half, but you don’t get rewarded,” said Kings coach George Karl, whose team has surrendered an average of 115.5 points on 54.7 percent shooting – 48.9 from 3-point range – in back-to-back losses.
Rudy Gay scored 39 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 29 and 12 rebounds against the Magic. In the last 10 games, Gay has averaged 22.6 points and shot 49.7 percent after entering that span at 43.9.MORE NEWS: Florida Congressman, Gubernatorial Hopeful Charlie Crist Makes South Florida Stop
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