NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 4th (All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (12-3) at Washington Wizards (1-13), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It may look like a mismatch on paper, but that's why they play the games.
The defending champion Miami Heat, owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference and winners of six straight, head to Washington Tuesday to take on a Wizards team that has the worst record in the NBA.
The Heat played their last four in Miami and, after this quick stop in the nation's capital, are at home for another six in a row. They have matched the franchise's best start and a win on Tuesday night would give them the best 16- game start in team history.
The calendar change to December benefits the Heat. Since the 2010-11 season, the Heat are 20-1 in the month of December, including a perfect 13-0 mark on the road.
And, if the Heat needed any more honors, they now boast this year's Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. LeBron James earned the award based on his remarkable year that saw him win his first NBA Championship, first Finals MVP, third regular-season MVP award and second Olympic gold medal.
James became the first basketball player to receive the honor since his teammate Dwyane Wade in 2006.
"I think it's awesome," said James. "D-Wade is one of the all-time greats as well. I'm happy to say I've done something that my friend has done. We can share some great conversations when it's all said and done."
The last time out for the Heat, Wade produced a season-high 34 points and James added 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets, 102-89.
As for the Wizards, no one received any national honors on Monday and the team will try to get back on some type of winning streak. After their maiden victory this season on Wednesday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Wiz fell at New York, 108-87 to the Knicks.
The Wizards have struggled offensively. They are last in the NBA in scoring, last in the NBA in field-goal percentage, and second-to-last in 3-point shooting percentage.
Defensively, Washington is in the middle of the pack in most categories.
It's a huge challenge for this out-manned Wizards team to compete with the league's elite.
"It's a task at hand. We're going to have to play well," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman. "We're going to have to shoot the ball well, we're going to have to have low turnovers and we're going to have to rebound the ball.
"If we can do those things, we can play with these guys. If we don't, it's going to be difficult, no two ways about it. That's what it boils down to. We know what's at hand."
The Wizards actually took two of three last season from the Heat, including a road victory on April 21 of this year. But, Miami is 12-3 in its last 15 against Washington.
12/04 10:32:40 ET