HOUSTON – The last time the Heat faced the Rockets – the game that kick-started Miami’s 13-game winning streak – the Houston was right at its average of 40 3-point attempt but made just nine, about six below its average.
The Rockets enter tonight’s game on a streak of 11 consecutive games with double-digit 3-pointers, during which it is averaging 13.8 makes per game.
The Heat’s mission tonight is to once again limit the Rockets’ makes.
“We try to take away some of the easy ones they are used to getting but not necessarily taking away attempts,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I thought we did a good job defending the 3-point line the last game. But that’s not going to stop them from taking them. They may just go two steps further back or shoot them quicker in the possession.
“But rhythm open ones, there’s a rhythm and flow to how they play, you have to try to disrupt that.”
The Rockets continue to lead the league in 3-point attempts averaging 39.8 a game. Houston is obliterating several league 3-point shooting records including:
* 827 made through 57 games (breaking the Warriors mark of 734 last year):
* 27 consecutive games with at least 10 made:
* 29 games with at least 15 made:
* 27 games of at least 40 attempts:
“Everybody sees they’re shooting 40 threes a game,” Goran Dragic said. “That’s going to be a big thing tonight. Every shot needs to be challenged.”
The Rockets have four players among the top 11 in 3-point attempts, including James Harden, who has launched 517, second to Golden State’s Steph Curry (529). And while Harden, neck-and-neck with OKC’s Russell Westbrook for league MVP, had a triple double with 40 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in Miami last month, he took 30 shots and was just 4-of-15 on 3s.
“He makes so many plays, he’s relentless, he’s tireless but he has such a poise to his game,” Spoelstra said. “You’re not going to rattle him, you’re not going to speed him up. You have to try to make it as tough on their game as much as possible.”
One area that the Heat must do better at is keeping Harden off the free throw line. He had 13 attempts in the last meeting and he leads the league with 10.9 attempts per game.
“That’s a tough thing to do,” Dragic said. “I think that’s going to be key for this game. He had a big game against us, but everybody else we stopped them. Hopefully we can do that tonight. But it’s going to have to be a team effort.”