Golden State Warriors at Miami Heat (-4.5, 203.5)
The Golden State Warriors will put their six-game winning streak on the line with their toughest test of a lengthy road trip at the Miami Heat on Thursday. The Warriors took the first two of a seven-game trip and are enjoying their longest winning streak in six years while thriving at the defensive end. Golden State will need to be at its best at that end against the Heat, who have won eight of nine and are returning home after a four-game trip.
The Warriors do not get a lot of credit for their defense but are one of the best in the league at limiting opponents. “We’ve had moments where we weren’t as effective as we’d like to be,” coach Mark Jackson said. “But, when you look at the numbers, holding a team under 40 (percent shooting), that’s the 14th time all year. Only Indiana has done it 15 times. So, we’ve got to get some recognition as far as the way that these guys defend on a high level.” Miami will test that defense with a healthy LeBron James, who returned from a one-game absence due to a groin injury and put up 26 points and 10 assists in 40 minutes at Denver on Monday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN Bay Area (Golden State), Sun Sports (Miami)
LINE: The Heat opened as 4-point faves and now sit at-4.5. The total opened at 204.5 and is down to 203.5.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Golden State (-9.5) - Miami (-14.5) + home court (-3) = Miami -8
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (20-13, 15-16-2 ATS): Golden State has gotten some strong performances from Stephen Curry during its winning streak and leaned on the interior and the bench in a 94-81 victory in Orlando on Tuesday. Andrew Bogut and David Lee provide a matchup issue for the Heat, and the Warriors figure to use their advantage on the inside. “We need to bring the same intensity (against Miami),” Curry said. “We feel like if we play the way we are supposed to play, we can beat everybody in this league. That is the mindset that we have and it is nice to have everybody healthy and ready to go to finish out this road trip and keep the momentum that we have.”
ABOUT THE HEAT (24-7, 14-17 ATS): James returned but Dwyane Wade went down with back spasms against the Nuggets and is considered day-to-day. Miami has been cautious with Wade all season and the team is used to playing without the All-Star, especially if Chris Bosh can maintain his current level of play. The veteran forward was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday after putting up 22.3 points and eight rebounds in four games, and followed it up with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting in Monday’s 97-94 triumph that closed out a 3-1 trip.
* Warriors are 4-0-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Miami.
* Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings in Miami.
* Underdog is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings.
* Road team is 12-3-2 ATS in the last 17 meetings.
1. The Warriors won their lone trip to the Heat last season 97-95 behind 27 points from Klay Thompson.
2. Miami G Norris Cole (face) took a hard fall and left Monday’s game but is expected to play Thursday.
3. Lee has gone three straight without a double-double after posting 10 in a row.