On Wednesday night, two of the most entertaining players in the NBA are set to face off, as the Miami Heat, led by LeBron James will host Houston Rockets, led by Jeremy Lin.
For much of the season, Miami has held the best record in the East. They lead the New York Knicks by a half game with their 31-14 record.
James continues to play as well as any player in the league. No one does a better job of filling up the box score, as the three-time MVP is averaging 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists per game. He leads Miami in all of those major categories.
James’s previous game may have been his best of the season. He came two rebounds and two assists short of a triple-double, while making 13 of his 14 field goal attempts.
Lin may have also had his best performance in his last game. The Rockets point guard scored 28 points and dished out nine assists in a record-tying performance by Houston. The Rockets defeated the Golden State Warriors 140-109, and hit 23 three-pointers in the process. Lin hit five shots from behind the arc to help tie the all-time record for an NBA team.
The 140 points may have been an aberration for Houston, but the club consistently surpasses the century mark. The Rockets are second in the league, putting up 105.8 points per contest. Their offensive firepower has propelled them to the eight seed in the West with a 27-23 record.
The game is very important for both teams. A loss could knock Miami out of the top spot in the East and a defeat for Houston could leave them on the outside of the playoff race. The New York Knicks play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, who are 23 games under .500. The Portland Trail Blazers play the 20-28 Dallas Mavericks. They sit one game behind the Rockets, but hold the tiebreaker.
Miami won the only meeting between the two teams in the 2012-2013 season. James scored 38 points, and Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined for 43 in a 113-110 victory.
Lin’s struggles against the defending champions continued that night. He scored just nine points on three-of-8 shooting. The point guard had his worst game with the Knicks in 2012 against the Heat. He made one of his 11 shot attempts and turned the ball over eight times.
With the game at AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat are expected to sweep their season series with the Rockets. Miami is an eight-point favorite, in large part due to their 19-3 home record.
The game is set to tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET. Viewers can watch a live stream of the contest online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
Prediction: In their last matchup, Miami was able to contain both Lin and James Harden, who went 6-17 from the field. Houston allows 102.7 points per game, and won’t be able to slow down James enough to get the win.
Predicted Score: Miami 115, Houston 104