Rockets-Heat Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 22, 2012
The challenge the Miami Heat face in trying to earn the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference might not be their only concern. Simply making the playoffs is all that matters to the Houston Rockets. With the status of injured star Dwyane Wade uncertain, the Heat look to bounce back from a surprising home loss by extending their winning streak over the visiting Rockets to five games Sunday night. While LeBron James and Chris Bosh got the night off to rest their ailing bodies, Wade dislocated his left index finger early in Saturday's game and played less than three minutes. With its three superstars watching from the sidelines, Miami (45-18) had its five-game winning streak come to an end with an 86-84 loss to lowly Washington. With three games remaining, the Heat fell 2 1/2 games behind Chicago for the top seed in the East. "Second place is not a bad place to be,'' said Wade, who underwent X-rays that were negative and said he should be fine for the upcoming playoffs. While the Heat still have a slim chance to surpass the Bulls for the top spot in the East, it's uncertain how much more regular-season time James, Wade or Bosh will see. "Obviously the standings are something that we're aware of," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And when you have an opportunity to play for it, you do. But in terms of it being bigger than anything ... I think players have the proper perspective about it.'' Averaging 30.3 points on 55.3 percent shooting in his last four games, James could be the most likely of the three to play Sunday. He had 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in Miami's 125-119 home win over Houston in the teams' last meeting March 27, 2011. Bosh, who has sat the last three games to heal some minor ailments, had 31 points and 12 boards in that contest. While the Heat have the luxury of resting their top players, Houston (33-31) needs everybody in uniform as it remains in the mix with Utah and Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with two games left. Houston has not reached the playoffs since 2009, despite posting a winning record in each of the last two seasons. The Rockets, currently 10th in the conference and one game behind the eighth-place Jazz, snapped a season-high six-game skid Saturday with a 99-96 home win over Golden State. "We've been thinking about games and possibilities,'' said forward Luis Scola, who scored 13 points against the Warriors. "We've got to go to Miami and win one basketball game and hopefully, just hopefully, at the end of the day, we'll still have chances.'' Courtney Lee had 20 points and Goran Dragic added 18 as the Rockets held on despite scoring only 41 points in the second half. "We needed to find a way to win one,'' said Houston coach Kevin McHale, whose team had allowed 107.2 points per game during the six-game losing streak. "But it was another one of those games where we really weren't at the top of our game.'' Houston lost both meetings with Miami last season by identical 125-119 scores. Scola totaled 50 points in those contests while shooting 23 of 43.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker