Dwyane Wade(notes) fought through an injury to lead the Miami Heat to a victory in Oakland in January. The Heat could use a similar effort from their superstar guard in Tuesday night’s matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
Wade and the Heat look to avoid matching a season-high five-game losing streak as they host a Warriors team trying to win two in a row for the first time in nearly two months.
Hampered by a sprained right wrist aggravated two nights earlier in Utah, Wade hit 10 of 15 shots, all 15 free throw attempts and scored 35 points as Miami (29-31) won its third straight over Golden State, 115-102 at Oracle Arena on Jan. 13.
“Dwyane has done this many times before,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “… He’ll play hurt as long as it won’t jeopardize him getting injured or the team. He felt good and had enough flexibility before the game that he gave it a shot.”
Returning from a four-game absence due to a strained left calf, Wade was 6 of 17 from the field and scored 21 points in Sunday’s 96-80 loss at Orlando. He missed four of five shots in the second half.
“It felt good to be out there, but I’m not where I want to be,” said Wade, among the league leaders with 26.0 points per game. “I was a little rusty, but I was just trying to get back in the swing of things. I did some things that were positive and I’ll move forward from there.”
With its four-game slide pushing it out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Miami needs a healthy Wade as it opens a three-game homestand against Golden State (17-41), which has lost six straight and 14 of 15 on the road.
The Warriors open a five-game trip with their first visit to AmericanAirlines Arena since a 96-88 loss Dec. 23, 2008. Monta Ellis(notes) was suspended for that game due to an offseason accident on a motorized scooter and will miss Tuesday’s matchup after sitting out Saturday’s 95-88 win over Detroit with a sore back.
Without Ellis, the Warriors’ leading scorer at 25.7 points per game, rookie guard Stephen Curry(notes) hit three 3-pointers and scored 27 points as Golden State won its first game without scoring 100 points since a 91-87 victory at New Orleans on Jan. 30, 2009.
“Sometimes you don’t know how you win games, but we just stayed around long enough to make plays at the right time,” said Warriors coach Don Nelson, whose team will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 6-8.
With Ellis questionable and Corey Maggette(notes) (strained left hamstring) not expected to return until at least after the team’s seven-day trip, Curry will likely be the focal point for a Warriors offense scoring 107.1 points per game. Curry, who hit three 3s and scored nine points in the Jan. 13 loss to Miami, is averaging 23.8 with 8.1 assists and 6.2 rebounds in the last 10 games.
Heat center Jermaine O’Neal(notes) had a season-high 24 points with seven rebounds in the victory in Oakland and could have another big game with Warriors center Andris Biedrins(notes) scheduled to miss the entire trip due to a sports hernia.
Miami has won 21 of 28 against Golden State after losing 14 of the teams’ first 15 matchups.