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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, December 29th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (24-9) at Houston Rockets (15-15), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It's strength versus strength tonight in south Texas as a pair of streaking teams meet when Kevin Martin and the Houston Rockets entertain LeBron James' Miami Heat.

The Rockets won their fifth straight game on Monday when Martin finished with 20 points and Aaron Brooks scored 13 of his 15 in the fourth quarter as Houston downed the hapless Washington Wizards, 100-93, in the opener of a three-game homestand.

Shane Battier also scored 15 points and Luis Scola contributed 14 for the Rockets, who reached .500 for the season (15-15) with their eighth straight win at home.

"As a team we played well in the fourth quarter. It started at the defensive end and then we all hit big shots," Brooks said.

Actually it all starts with the high-scoring Martin in Houston. The Rockets are a solid 14-8 when the shooting guard scores 20 points or more and just 1-7 when he doesn't

The Heat, meanwhile, improved to a gaudy 14-1 in December on Tuesday in South Beach when Dwyane Wade poured in a season-high 40 points and pulled down nine rebounds, as Miami held off the New York Knicks, 106-98.

James and Chris Bosh each tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who have won three in a row and 15 of 16 overall. Zydrunas Ilgauskas donated 14 points and 10 boards.

"I was just mixing it up," Wade said. "I was being aggressive and going to the basket but also looking for my outside shot. I think my teammates did a good job especially in the fourth of looking for me."

With a win tonight, Miami will set a franchise record for victories in any month and give the team its first 10-game run away from home since an 11-game winning streak from Feb. 4-March 7, 1998. The sizzling Heat have won their last nine on the road by an average of 16.1 points.

Miami swept the home-and-home series a year ago after Houston did the same thing in 2008-09.

12/29 10:58:49 ET

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