Are you ready for tomorrow’s game? The game that everyone has been anticipating and marking on their calendars. Yes, it’s time for the rematch of the Clippers and the Heat. So get out your best breakfast snacks, because tomorrow’s early morning game (9 am Pacific TIme) will be all that anyone will talk about for a weeks and weeks on end.
Blake will look to validate his selection into the All Star team and LeBron will want to have his revenge for karma’s revenge.
Neither team is playing as well as they were before the last meeting. The Heat had won 21 of 22 games and the Clippers won 7 of their last ten. Now, the Heat have won their last 5 in a row but are 6-5 in their last 11 games (which includes the loss to the Clippers). The Clips haven’t fared well either, their 9 game home winning streak overshadowed their ineptitude on the road, the reality is that they are 3-5 in their last eight games. Four of those games were on the road and they have lost the last 5 in a row on the road. So unlike the last head to head, where both teams were looking to maintain their high momentum, now each team is trying to regain some of their swagger from a few weeks ago.
Keys to the Game
– Limiting the Heat’s fast break opportunities by means of not turning the ball over so much. Other than the game against the Bucks, the Clippers played their most efficient basketball against the Heat. They only had 10 turnovers the entire game and it not only gave them the confidence to run their offense down the stretch but it prevented the Heat from their momentum swinging fast breaks. Returning to that level of efficiency on the road will be especially difficult.
– Shut down one. Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored 84 of the team’s 105 points in the last matchup, 80 percent of the team total. And it’s not like those were anomalies as the Big Three are the only players to average more than 8 points per game on the team. What the Clips did well in the win was to make Bosh’s night inefficient (although still somewhat successful). They held Bosh to 6 for 17 shooting and the difference between that and his normal shooting percentages is just about the margin of victory. Other than the big three, they don’t have too many options, unless Mike Miller wakes up from his coma.
– Keep the bigs happy. What the Heat do well is defend the perimeter, but they aren’t nearly as adept defensively when it comes to their big men. To exploit this, the Clippers need to get the ball to Blake and even DeAndre. Bosh doesn’t have the strength or the quickness to stay in front of Blake and Joel Anthony or Zydrunas won’t have either the size or athleticism if the Clippers look for DeAndre off of cuts, for lobs or dumps in point blank area. This is the biggest advantage for the Clippers.
Chris Kaman: left ankle, out
Craig Smith: herniated disc, out
Eric Gordon: back/wrist, out
Udonis Haslem: left foot, out