NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 22nd (All times eastern)
Sacramento Kings (13-40) at Miami Heat (41-15), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Miami Thrice didn't get off to a hot start with two newcomers on the scene, but the star-studded Heat were able to establish themselves as one of the best during the first half of the season.
Led by Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, the Heat marched out to a 41-15 mark before all three took part in Sunday's 60th annual All-Star game in Los Angeles, as the trio combined for 57 points in the East's 148-143 setback to the West. James had a triple-double with 12 rebounds and 10 assists, while Wade left the game after 20 minutes of play with a right ankle injury.
Wade said the injury isn't serious enough to miss any time and he's expected to be in tonight's lineup against the Sacramento Kings at AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami is aiming for its sixth straight win at home, where it is 20-5 this season, and closed out a four-game road trip with a 103-95 victory in Toronto last Wednesday. Wade scored 28 points, James ended with 23 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Bosh totaled 25 points and six boards in his return to Air Canada Centre. Bosh, a former Raptor, spent the first seven years of his career before joining the Heat as a free agent this offseason.
"It was an interesting environment," Bosh said. "We've been going through this (getting booed) everywhere we go. It motivates us."
The rest of the Heat scored 27 points in the team's 10th win in 11 tries. The Southeast Division-leading squad is just percentage points behind the Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference's top seed. Chicago isn't too far off from the lead with a 38-16 record.
Sacramento headed to the All-Star break with a last-place tag in the Pacific Division and losses in seven of eight games. It is 1-2 so far on a seven-game road trip and dropped a 116-100 decision in Dallas on Feb. 16.
Jermaine Taylor collected a team-high 17 points and rookie DeMarcus Cousins finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists for the Kings, who are 6-18 away from California's capital and finished the first half of the season with a 13-40 ledger.
"You can't slump off those guys behind the line and at the same time, they're very good at attacking the basket," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said of the Mavericks. "They're a very, very smart veteran team with great weapons and they're very unselfish, too."
Beno Udrih and Donte Greene scored 16 points apiece in defeat, as the Kings suffered their 14th straight loss in Big D. Reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans missed his second straight game with a case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot and is not expected to play tonight. He is averaging 18.3 points.
The Kings will also visit Orlando, Charlotte and Memphis on the trek. Cousins is averaging 19.3 ppg and 11.6 rpg in his last nine games, and recorded 33 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, three steals and one block for the Rookies in a win over the Sophomores Friday night during All-Star festivities.
Miami defeated Sacramento, 104-83, at ARCO Arena on Dec. 11 this season thanks to 36 points from Wade and 25 out of James. The Heat have won five straight and 14 of 17 meetings with the Kings, losers in eight straight and 19 of their last 21 visits to south Florida.
02/22 10:38:23 ET