Houston Rockets vs. Miami Heat game preview

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

The Rockets travel to Miami for the second part of a back-to-back against the reigning NBA champs.

Houston Rockets Tickets

Full disclosure: I've started writing this one before the Warriors game, so if something changes between now and then I'll try to change it.

The Rockets battled hard with the Heat the last time these two teams played. By all rights, the game was way closer than it should have been.

But the Heat this season have been a bit disappointing. I feel the need to follow that up with the fact that I still think they'll win it all again in June, but they just haven't looked as hungry. Oddly enough, only LeBron looks like he wants another ring.

This will be a difficult test for the Rockets, especially coming off a back-to-back.

Tip off is at 6:30pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Mario Chalmers

Lin is getting the advantage here, but Chalmers has proven his worth over the last couple of years. He's quick to the rack and can hit threes when needed. He also carried the Heat late in game 4 of the Finals last season.

I think it's got to be difficult to play on a team with LeBron and Wade in the same backcourt. Chalmers has been great in that tough spot. Of course, getting to win a championship is pretty sweet too.

A lot was made of Lin's trip to South Beach last year, when the Heat were determined to end Linsanity. Instead of having it end tonight, Lin needs to try to make it restart.

Advantage: Rockets

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Dwyane Wade

These are two of the three best shooting guards in the game, along with Kobe. If I had to pick a guy for one game, it would be Wade. But for the future, I'm ecstatic that we have Harden.

I think Harden has to be incredible tonight for the Rockets to win, same as Lin.

Advantage: Even

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. LeBron James

LeBron is coming off a 13-14 shooting performance against the Bobcats. More and more, I'm so glad that I get to see him in his prime. He's a treasure to watch and I think the "LEBRON HAS GOT TO GET IT DONE!" crowd has finally dispersed.

He's the best player in basketball and he's going to be for another few years. As someone that favors LeBron's all-around skill set to Kevin Durant's solely perfect shooting skill set, I think LeBron's going to be great for a long time.

Advantage: Heat

Power Forward: Patrick Patterson vs. Udonis Haslem

Here lies the one real Houston advantage. The Rockets need "4th quarter against the Bobcats" Patterson tonight, not "Average" Patterson. He could be the X-factor that swings this game in the Rockets favor.

Advantage: Rockets

Center: Omer Asik vs. Chris Bosh

The Heat are the worst rebounding team in the NBA. Their lack of a true center is doing them in on that count, but it frees them up to other options. It's a give-and-take scenario really.

So Asik has to be on the boards tonight. Seriously, he should be going into this game looking for 20 boards.

On defense, he has to stay out of foul trouble and not let Bosh have wide-open mid range jumpers. See, that's what the Heat get when they play small-ball: wide open Bosh jumpers. Give-and-take.

Advantage: Even

Bench

Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Greg Smith, Marcus Morris, Patrick Beverley

Heat: Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier

Advantage: Heat

Prediction: The Heat are way too much for the Rockets, win 121-105.

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