Three things to watch this week: Miami Heat looking to start another streak heading into All-Star break

Rockets guard James Harden scored 40 points and had a triple double against the Heat last month. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Rockets guard James Harden scored 40 points and had a triple double against the Heat last month. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


MIAMI – The streak is dead but the Miami Heat certainly are alive.

The Heat’s stunning 13-game winning streak came to an end Saturday in Philadelphia but they now are looking to start another streak tonight at home against Orlando.

Miami plays just two games this week before the week-long All-Star break.

Here are three things to watch this week.

Getting back on track: The Heat have a good chance to resume their winning ways tonight when the Magic come to town. Orlando has lost four in a row and 7-of-8 and sit in 14th place in the East, five games behind the Heat. Besides, Miami owes Orlando, which stole a 136-130 double overtime victory at AmericanAirlines Arena five days before Christmas. The Heat blew a 5-point lead with 48 seconds to play in regulation and a 4-point lead with 36 seconds remaining in the first overtime. Miami needs the game to continue its climb in the standings. The Heat were nine games out of the final playoff spot the night they started their run and enter tonight’s game 2 games out.

 How they handle James Harden: Miami’s final game before the break is at Houston on Wednesday, where the Heat hope to have much better luck against James Harden than it did a month ago. Although Miami defeated the Rockets, 109-104, at home, the win that started the streak, it allowed Harden to go off for 40 points and a triple double by adding 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Harden, though, made just 12-of-30 shots from the field and 3-of-15 three-point attempts and did not receive much help with the rest of the Rockets’ starting lineup scoring 31 points. Harden has nine 40-point games and 14 triple doubles this season.

All-Star break: This is a time for the Heat and their fans to relax considering Miami will not be represented in the game – for the first time since 2004 – or Saturday’s three-point shooting, dunk and skills contests. Point guard Goran Dragic, the most deserving of Heat players to be in the game, has said it would be an honor be an All-Star but also said he is looking forward to the rest. The Heat have had been on an emotional roller coaster during the season’s first half, starting 11-30  followed by the 13-game winning start and Miami plays as hard as any team in the league. The break should be welcomed by every player and coach.


[Heat center Hassan Whiteside in awe of meeting fellow Marshall great, Hal Greer]

[Okaro White’s perfect start comes to an end with Miami Heat’s loss in Philadelphia]

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