The Warriors look like perhaps the best team in the NBA thus far and they take a five-game winning streak into Miami on Tuesday night in their lone visit of the season. Golden State is a 5.5-point favorite on BetOnline's NBA odds with a total of 198.
Hard to Find Fault with Warriors
What doesn't Golden State do well? There's no question the Warriors have the best backcourt in basketball with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the "Splash Brothers" making this team part of our NBA picks. Curry is seventh in the NBA in scoring at 22.6 points per game and Thompson is eighth at 22.4 points. They are also among the 3-point leaders. That non-trade of Thompson to Minnesota this offseason is looking like a wise move by management. So was the hiring of Steve Kerr to replace the very successful Mark Jackson as coach. Kerr has to be an early leader for Coach of the Year with Golden State (10-2) off to the best start in franchise history. The Warriors are +550 second favorites on NBA odds to win the Western Conference and +800 third favorites at sportsbooks for the NBA title.
Golden State is No. 3 in the NBA in scoring (106.5 ppg), No. 2 field-goal percentage at .485 and No. 1 with a .410 defensive field-goal percentage. The Warriors also lead the league with 35.8 defensive rebounds per game and are tied with Boston in most assists at 25.8 per game. Where's the weakness? OK, the team does turn it over way too much, ranking last at 17.9 per game but Kerr doesn't mind that as long as the Warriors keep pushing the pace.
Golden State has played most of the season without former All-Star power forward David Lee because of a hamstring injury. In fact, Lee has played just seven minutes but he's closing in on a return. It just won't happen Tuesday. Maybe this weekend. Lee averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds last season. He was part of that rumored Love trade as well.
Two Warriors are questionable for Tuesday: starting center Andrew Bogut and reserve guard Leandro Barbosa. Bogut, the key to Golden State's defense, took an elbow to the eye from Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins in Sunday's 91-86 win and was diagnosed with an orbital contusion. Bogut averages 8.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just 25.3 minutes per night. If he can't go then Marreese Spieghts would probably start. He had a season-high 28 minutes off the bench vs. Oklahoma City. Barbosa hurt his knee vs. the Thunder but an MRI came back clean. He scores 6.7 points in 16.3 minutes per game.
Golden State is 8-4 against the spread at sportsbooks and 4-8 'over/under' on NBA odds.
Heat Inconsistent Post-LeBron
As one would expect after losing LeBron James, the Heat (8-6) have been up-and-down. They enter this off wins in Orlando and home to Charlotte on Sunday. The offense is struggling as Miami has scored in triple digits just once in the past seven games. Four of those are losses.
The return of Dwyane Wade certainly would help the offense but it's likely that Wade sits a sixth straight game Tuesday. He is dealing with a hamstring injury. The Heat don't play again after Tuesday until Sunday in New York so that's probably an extra four days that Miami would like to rest Wade. He has played well when able, averaging 19.8 points (on .508 shooting) and 6.4 assists. Norris Cole now starts at point guard over Mario Chalmers but Cole is doubtful after missing Sunday's win over the Hornets with a dislocated finger. Cole is averaging 7.4 points. For sure out is big man Chris Andersen, who left the Hornets game with a sprained ankle.
Thus it could be on Chris Bosh to carry a big load again and Bosh has thrived minus LeBron, averaging 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds. In Miami's eight wins he scores 23.5 points per game and in the six losses 18.5. Bosh is working on back-to-back double-doubles. Chalmers also has raised his game of late, averaging 19.4 points in the past five. He and Shannon Brown started in the backcourt Sunday, but Brown was waived on Monday in a surprise move.
Miami is 7-6-1 against the spread at sportsbooks this season and 6-8 'over/under.'
The Heat and Warriors split two high-scoring games last season, each winning on the road. Still, Golden State has just four wins in its past 18 trips to Miami.
Free NBA picks: Warriors and 'under' at 5Dimes. Miami has failed to cover its past four at home. The 'under' is 5-1 in Golden State's six road games and also 5-1 in Miami's past six vs. the Western Conference.