Heat-Warriors Preview

The Associated Press

Expect LeBron James to make history Wednesday night.

James needs 18 points to become the youngest player to reach 20,000 as the visiting Miami Heat try to avoid a season sweep by the Golden State Warriors.

The Heat superstar has been held below 18 points just once this season, a 15-point effort at Portland last Thursday. He has scored fewer than 18 just once in 17 games against Golden State (23-13).

Scoring 18 on Wednesday will mean that he will reach 20,000 at the age of 28 years, 17 days. The youngest to date to reach that milestone was Kobe Bryant, who got there when he was 29 years, 122 days old.

Thirty-seven players have scored 20,000.

"You look at how many players have come through this league, the history of the game," James said. "That 20K mark is very limited. How many guys have done that? It's very, very limited.

"It'll be big-time. I'm not going to shy away from that. I'm not a big stats guy as far as individual, but that'll be pretty cool."

In terms of games played, James would be the seventh-fastest in NBA history to join the 20,000 club. Wednesday will be his 726th regular-season game.

Wilt Chamberlain needed only 499 games to score 20,000, followed by Michael Jordan (620), Oscar Robertson (671), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (684), Elgin Baylor (711) and Allen Iverson (713). Shaquille O'Neal did it in 727 games.

Miami (24-12) will be looking to bounce back after dropping to 1-3 on this six-game trip with a 104-97 loss at Utah on Monday. James scored 32 as the Heat nearly rallied from a 21-point deficit.

Now Miami will try to avenge a 97-95 home loss to Golden State on Dec. 12. Jarrett Jack fed rookie Draymond Green for the winning layup with 0.9 seconds to go in one of many surprising wins this season for the Warriors, who overcame 31 points from James.

Golden State has matched its victory total from last season's 66-game campaign. The Warriors' success could lead to a second career All-Star appearance for forward David Lee, who has never played on a winning team nor previously been in the postseason.

Lee is second in the league with 23 double-doubles, including a 22-point, 14-rebound effort in last month's win against the Heat.

"We've turned the culture around," Lee said. "We've turned the wins and losses around and we just need to keep it that way."

Jack and Klay Thompson combined for 47 points in the first meeting while leading scorer Stephen Curry was held to nine - 11.5 below his average.

The Warriors had a 41-38 edge on the glass last month against the Heat, who have been outrebounded three times on this trip after the Jazz amassed a 40-23 advantage and outscored Miami 19-0 on second-chance points.

"It is not going to be easy," coach Erik Spoelstra told the league's official website. "Our road trip doesn't get easier. If we want a quality win, we have to give more."

The Warriors also enter as losers of three of four after getting outscored 37-18 in the fourth quarter of a 116-105 defeat at Denver on Sunday. Lee had 23 points and 13 boards but Jack and Thompson combined for 10 of Golden State's 18 turnovers.

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