3-on-3 preview: Heat at Warriors, 10:30 ET
January, 16, 2013
AP Photo/Steve MitchellLeBron and the Heat continue their West Coast swing against Stephen Curry and the Warriors.In another installment of the Heat Index's 3-on-3 series, our writers give their takes on the storylines before the Heat face the Warriors on Wednesday (10:30 ET, ESPN).
1. More impressive LeBron milestone: 20K points or 5K assists?
Tom Haberstroh: 5K assists. Tough call, but LeBron's vision is what sets him apart from his peers. He has a higher career assist average per game than Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups, which is absurd considering he's an elite scorer, too.
Michael Wallace: 5K assists for the simple fact that he's the most dominant player of his era and could easily score 30 points a game. But instead, LeBron has made it a priority to get teammates involved as a facilitator. That's what internally makes him more like Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan.
Brian Windhorst: LeBron is more pleased with the assist mark than the scoring milestone, for what that is worth. But I'm going to present a different number that has a lot to do with both: He has missed fewer than 25 games in 10 seasons because of injury. Yes, he's a tank. But for the past five or six years he has been very dedicated to his conditioning, and it has kept him on the court despite carrying a workload that virtually no other player in the league is burdened with.
2. Fact or Fiction: Miami’s recent road woes are a concern.
Haberstroh: Fiction. They didn't have a hard time winning on the road in the playoffs last season and it's mostly the same crew. And considering they'll likely have home-court advantage in the playoffs, I'm not sure it's a big deal. Fills solid air time on the radio, though.
Wallace: Fiction. Of the team's recent concerns, the road losses rank below the rebounding woes and the chemistry issues. Let's face it: Come playoff time, Miami has to win only one game on the road to swing a series totally in its favor. They're around .500 on the road. That's OK for now, as long as they continue to take care of business at home.
Windhorst: Fiction. The Heat were only 18-15 on the road last season and they've gone 2-3 on this long January trip. But they still closed out the Pacers on the road last season in the playoffs, won Game 6 in Boston and split in Oklahoma City in the Finals. They have all the tools to be a good road team when they put it together, which they haven't yet.
3. Fact or Fiction: The Heat need the East’s No. 1 seed.
Haberstroh: Fiction. Refer to 2011-12. Of course, that was aided by Derrick Rose's injury, but the Heat don't require the No. 1 seed. Would they like it? Sure. But my feeling is they'll be the best team in the East regardless of what the regular-season win column says.
Wallace: Fiction ... for reasons I mention in the previous answer. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to put themselves in position to have the league's best overall record for home-court advantage in a possible Finals matchup.
Windhorst: Fiction. They reached the Finals from the No. 2 seed in each of the past two seasons. They didn't have home court in the Finals. They don't fear any team in the East and feel confident they can win on any team's court. Getting the home-court advantage is always a good idea, but the Heat do not need it.