After starting the second half of the season on a positive note, the Heat look to beat the Kings at home for the eighth consecutive time Saturday night.
Two days after coach Eric Spoelstra verbally slammed his team after a 39-point loss at Charlotte, Miami (22-20) responded with a 112-88 victory at Washington on Friday. Dwyane Wade(notes) had 32 points with 10 assists as the Heat shot 57.0 percent after making 28.9 percent of their attempts against the Bobcats.
Underscoring its inconsistency, Miami preceded the blowout loss at Charlotte with a 30-point win over Indiana on Tuesday.
One way for the Heat to establish some consistency would be improving their 1-6 mark in the second of back-to-back games - the third-worst such record in the league. Miami is averaging 86.0 points while allowing 104.3 per game in those contests, all of which have come on the road.
“It’s about honesty and us being real with each other,” said Spoelstra, whose team has lost by 15, 29, 30 and 39 in the back ends of consecutive contests.” What we’ve done on back-to-back nights so far, we have to be real about it, it’s not been good enough.”
Miami has a good chance to buck that trend against Sacramento (15-27), which is 3-18 on the road, and in the midst of a season-high six-game overall losing streak and a seven-game skid away from home. The Kings haven’t won at Miami since a 90-75 victory Nov. 10, 2001.
Wade, who went 12 of 19 from the field Friday after shooting 6 for 16 and finishing with 16 points against Charlotte, had 24 points with 10 assists as the Heat shot a season-high 58.6 percent in a 115-102 win at Sacramento on Dec. 6. He’s averaging 30.3 points on 52.2 percent shooting in his last four games against the Kings.
Sacramento has dropped 11 of 12 games during a demanding stretch, facing the likes of Dallas, Phoenix, the Magic and Lakers. The Kings are averaging 90.7 points and shooting 39.8 percent during their six-game skid.
“We’re playing against division leaders every night,” said coach Paul Westphal, whose team scored 10 points in the second quarter and shot 33.3 percent overall against Orlando. “When you look at our schedule, it doesn’t mean you chalk up losses in advance, but we haven’t been favored very often.”
Sacramento, which is concluding a season-high six-game road trip, is seeking to avoid its third winless trip of three or more games in 2009-10.