NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 20th (All times Eastern)
Sacramento Kings (7-17) at Miami Heat (19-6), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The series between the Miami Heat and Sacramento Kings the last 10 years or so hasn't been competitive by any stretch of the imagination and the two clubs will clash Friday on the shores of Biscayne Bay.
The Heat took both encounters with the Kings last season and have won nine in a row and 17 of the past 18 meetings. Sacramento has struggled mightily in south Florida, losing 11 straight and 22 of 24 games there.
Miami hopes to stay perfect (3-0) on its five-game homestand with the Kings in town and recently defeated the much-improved Indiana Pacers, 97-94, Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Veteran reserve Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer with 59.5 seconds to go for a 95-92 score and the Pacers later missed on a 3- point attempt at the buzzer.
Dwyane Wade poured in 32 points on 15-of-25 shooting for the Heat. LeBron James shook off a balky ankle to post 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the win, Miami's fifth in the last six tries.
"He knows his body and he knows his ankle," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James. "He looked fine."
James has currently scored in double-figures in 520 consecutive games, six shy of tying Moses Malone's mark set from Nov. 4, 1978 - March 4, 1985.
The Heat have won three in a row at home, are 12-2 in South Beach and will close the residency Monday versus Atlanta. In injury news, forward Michael Beasley is questionable with a strained left hamstring and has missed the last six games.
Sacramento is 0-2 on a four-game road trip, losing contests at Charlotte and Atlanta. In Wednesday's 124-107 loss to the Hawks, DeMarcus Cousins scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds, Rudy Gay netted 22 points and Isaiah Thomas ended with 20 points and 10 assists for Sacramento, which has lost 10 of its last 13 games.
The Kings saw the Hawks shoot 58 percent for the game and sink 60 percent from 3-point range (15-of-25). Atlanta also handed out 38 assists and scored 39 of the 59 points in the fourth quarter.
"I don't even know where to begin," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "I guess I'm not doing a good enough job of giving them a gameplan that they can execute, and I'm not doing a good enough job of explaining who are the players that can make shots. So I have to do a better job of communicating with my team, so they know full well who we're playing, who their shooters are and what the coverages are so we don't give up 39 points in the fourth quarter."
On a positive note, the Kings are averaging 104.0 ppg in the past eight and will close the trip Saturday against Orlando. They are winless in their last three games away from home.
Meanwhile, Cousins has scored 20 or more points in 10 of his last 12 games and Thomas is averaging 22.2 ppg in his last six starts. Gay has posted 20 or more points in three of the previous four games since his trade from Toronto.
12/20 10:30:26 ET