Miami Heat vs. Golden State Warriors January 16, 2013 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, CA. Coverage will begin at 10:30 p.m. ET.
LeBron James will once again be the center of attention as the Miami Heat take their talents to Oakland for their last regular season matchup against the Golden State Warriors. James needs just 18 points tonight to become the youngest player ever to reach 20,000.
At 28 years old LeBron James would be the youngest player to reach this milestone, but will not be the fastest. James has had a considerable advantage over most players due to his jump straight from high school to the pros. Wilt Chamberlain needed only 499 games to hit the 20,000 point plateau, that’s 227 games less than James needed.
No better opponent for James to accomplish such a feat than to do it against a Warriors team that with a win tonight can sweep the Heat on the season. The record is James for the taking, as he historically does well against the Warriors. During his career James has managed to score 18 points 16 of the 17 games he’s played against Golden State, and has been held under 18 points just once so far this season.
The Heat will be playing the fifth game of their current six game road trip, a stretch that has not been kind to the Heat. The Heat are just 1-3 as the away team during this stretch after falling 104-97 Monday night to a fairly decent Utah Jazz team that has won 6 of their last ten.
Golden State has 23 wins this season, already tying their season total for wins during last years shortened 66 game season. The Warriors have really developed as a team under second year head coach Mark Jackson, and continue to mesh as their younger players gain valuable experience with each ensuing game. Andrew Bogut remains sidelined with a lingering foot injury, but that hasn’t slowed the Warriors as Jackson has found chemistry with his three guard set.
They may be one of the smallest lineups in the NBA, but the Warriors play with enough energy and athleticism to make up for their lack of size. Last time these two teams played, the Warriors managed to out-rebound and outlast Miami with a last second lay-up from rookie Draymond Green.
Like the Heat, the Warriors are losers of three of their last four. Their most recent loss came Sunday at the heels of the Denver Nuggets. Golden State amassed a whopping 18 turnovers on offense while being outscored by 19 points in the fourth quarter in their 116-105 loss to the Nuggets.
What to Watch For:
Warriors C/PF David Lee has finally found his niche with the Warriors. Lee has really stepped up as an inside presence for Golden State after taking last season to adjust to his new team. His numbers are impressive as Lee has averaged 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds a game and is one of 10 NBA players averaging a scoring/rebounding double-double this season. It may not be his best statistical season ever but Lee has had more of an impact on his team’s success this season than in any other year.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors 109, Miami Heat 104
Where To Watch For: Golden State Warriors at Miami Heat