After a slow start, the Golden State Warriors have been more competitive in recent games, thanks in part to the returns of some key players from injury.
Golden State (11-25) is searching for its third win in four contests and fifth in nine games following a 7-21 start. The returns of post players Ronny Turiaf(notes) and Andris Biedrins(notes) have contributed to that improvement.
The Warriors had 11 players in their rotation Monday night, helping them stay close in a 117-114 loss to Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland in the second in a season-high seven-game homestand that concludes Jan. 22. At one point earlier this season, Golden State had only seven active players.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, however, they haven’t completely escaped the injury bug. Anthony Randolph(notes) is expected to miss two months with an ankle injury. Turiaf also played just 12 minutes against the Cavaliers because of an ankle injury, but X-rays were negative.
The Warriors still managed to rally to within three points twice in the final minute Monday. However, they were denied a season-high third straight victory and had a three-game home win streak snapped when Stephen Curry’s(notes) tying 3-point attempt came up short.
Maggette has averaged 29.8 points in the past four games and 25.0 in the last 14. Since being held to a season-low eight points on Dec. 14, Ellis has scored 30.5 per game in the last 12 contests.
“I’ve started to click and started to attack more,” Maggette said. “Having my hamstrings at full strength and being able to drive and get to the line opens up a lot for me.”
Ellis missed Golden State’s two losses to Miami last season because of an ankle injury suffered in an offseason moped accident. Maggette also missed a 96-88 loss in Miami with a hamstring injury after scoring 29 in a 130-129 overtime loss at home, the Warriors’ fourth loss in their last five home games against the Heat.
Wade averaged 34.5 points against Golden State last season, but the All-Star guard could be hampered Wednesday by a sprained right wrist he suffered in Monday night’s 118-89 loss at Utah.
Wade left the game after getting hurt while going for a loose ball late in the first quarter. He returned a few minutes later but finished with a season-low 13 points in the Heat’s sixth loss in eight games. Miami (18-18) dropped to 1-2 on a season-high six-game road trip and .500 on the season for the first time in a month.
“It wasn’t a game that we could walk our way through,” Wade said. “They played very well from start to finish.”
Wade is expected to be re-evaluated when Miami arrives in northern California. If he can’t play, the Heat could lean on Michael Beasley(notes) as they try to avoid a third straight defeat. The second-year forward has scored at least 20 points in three straight games, his longest streak since a five-game run to end last season.
Beasley had 19 in the win at Golden State last season but was held to five points in the home matchup.
The Heat, who will play their ninth game in 15 days Wednesday, haven’t been below .500 since they were 8-9 on Nov. 29, 2008.
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