Rockets at Heat Preview, Odds

By Nick T.

The Miami Heat have the upper hand against the Houston Rockets who will be playing the back end of a back-to-back on Wednesday night.

According to BetOnline, the Heat (31-14) are eight-point favorites at home against the Rockets, the second meeting of a two-game season series. Miami edged Houston in the first matchup, which was a 113-110 victory on Nov. 12 at the Toyota Center. LeBron James kick-started the Heat’s fourth-quarter comeback and finished with a 38-point night to offset a 19-point, 14-rebound effort from the Rockets’ center Omer Asik.

Miami has held the advantage over Houston for quite some time, winning six in a row from the Rockets. They’ll also look to continue their four-game home winning streak after an unsettling 99-94 victory over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.

Meanwhile, the Rockets will look to take advantage of the Heat’s rebounding woes (39 rebounds per game; worst in the NBA) as it continues to play with a small lineup. Asik will carry much of the attention from the Heat’s defense. Consequently, if the Rockets have a hot shooting night from the three-point arc (the team knocks down 10 per game), then they can give the Heat a run for their money.

Who has the statistical advantages?

Houston posts a whopping 105 points per contest, which ranks second best in the league. They have the edge over Miami, who only tallies 102 points. Though, the difference here is that Miami plays relatively solid defense, allowing eight points less than the Rockets. They also carry the statistical upside when it comes to field goal shooting percentage, knocking down a shade under 50 percent from the field (best in the NBA).

The biggest x-factor for the game is whether Jeremy Lin will play. The third-year point guard injured his ankle in Monday’s practice and could possibly be a game-time decision come Wednesday. The initial report said it “did not appear serious,” which comes as good news for Rockets fans.

If the Rockets have to go without Lin, they’ll be missing a solid guard at the top of their rotation who is averaging 12.2 points, 6.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per contest. He also has added to the chemistry between James Harden and his new fit in the Houston’s lineup.

Look for the Heat to continue their winning ways at home over a road weary Rockets team.