Advertisement

NBA Basketball: Miami Heat at Houston Rockets - Rockets Favored

Team Page: Miami :: Houston

70% of Bets Placed on Miami +3 | Matchup | NBA Picks
Pat Riley is feeling better, and so is his team. The combination is getting him back on the bench for the Miami Heat.

Looking to help the Heat build on the momentum they took into the All-Star break, Riley will be back coaching for the first time in seven weeks as the defending NBA champions visit the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Oddsmakers have made Houston -3 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 184 total

points (View NBA Sports Books).

Riley cited health issues as the reason he left the team on Jan. 3. He had a procedure to repair knee cartilage, followed by hip replacement surgery, but admitted on Monday the team's 13-17 start factored into his decision.

"I was not responding very well to the situation," the 61-year-old Riley said. "I was very intolerant of just about anything. I don't think I was doing a credible job at all as a coach."

Riley is hoping the team will be much better following a rough first half of the season, which was marred by significant injuries.

"There's something about this team, in spite of how we blew the start of the season," Riley said. "That stuff is behind us. I just hope we can keep building on what we have, and defend the championship with a lot more energy than we had."

Miami (26-26) won seven of its final eight games before the break, finishing the first half of the season with easy wins over San Antonio and Portland.

The Heat now look to move over .500 for the first time since they were 3-2 in early November.

"We wanted at the beginning of the year to come out of the blocks strong but it wasn't scripted that way," Dwyane Wade said. "So we have to take what we have and go into the second half of the season, and hopefully ... we have all our guns and we have our coach back and just try to defend our title."

A big factor determining the team's fate will be the health of Shaquille O'Neal, who has played only 13 games this season due to knee problems. He is averaging 13.5 points and 5.8 rebounds - both far below his career averages of 26.1 and 11.7.

While O'Neal is slowly regaining his form, Wade has continued to develop into a superstar. The fourth-year guard, who scored 10 points in Sunday's All-Star game, is averaging career highs of 28.8 points and 7.8 assists.

Wade's contributions are a big reason that despite the team's struggles, the Heat would make the playoffs if the season ended now.

While the Heat have an NBA Finals rematch at Dallas on Thursday, the team's first task is avenging an embarrassing home loss to Houston (33-19) earlier in the season.

The Heat lost 94-72 to the Rockets on Nov. 12. O'Neal had 15 points and 10 rebounds, but was dominated by Yao Ming, who had 34 points and 14 rebounds.

Yao was averaging a career-high 25.9 points and 9.4 rebounds before suffering a broken right tibia at the end of December. He hopes to return early next month.

Forty-year-old Dikembe Mutombo has filled in for Yao and had a career resurgence, averaging 5.3 points and 11.2 rebounds since taking over as the starting center.

"After 16 years, some people think that I shouldn't be playing 30 minutes per game," Mutombo told the team's official Web site. "All it takes is hard work."

Mutombo and Tracy McGrady, who is averaging 23.9 points, have helped turn around Houston after a dismal 2005-06 season. The Rockets are in fifth place in the Western Conference and with a win Wednesday, would equal their victory total for all of last season.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

Advertisement

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Tim Duncan retires The San Antonio Spurs lost their franchise player on Monday, as Tim Duncan elected to retire after an amazing 19-year...
Thumbnail Rockets give Harden an extension The Houston Rockets locked up their star player for years to come, announcing an extension with James Harden on...
Thumbnail OKC's title odds plummet without Durant Following the announcement that Kevin Durant will be signing with the Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder's NBA title...
Thumbnail Durant heading to Golden State The shoe finally dropped in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, as he has elected to sign with the Golden State Warriors for next...
Thumbnail Warriors now 2/3 to win title with Durant The Golden State Warriors were already favored to win the 2017 NBA Finals championship, but their odds improved even more after...
More inNBA Articles  
Advertisement

NBA Headlines

  • CLEVELAND (AP) The NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers waived Dahntay Jones, the veteran reserve swingman who gave the team a spark in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
    The team announced the move Satur...
  • LOS ANGELES (AP) A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging New York Knicks player Derrick Rose and two friends drugged and gang-raped a woman.
    The judge denied the motion on W...
  • CHICAGO (AP) When Dwyane Wade was a free agent in 2010, he got a Chicago Bulls jersey when he met with his hometown team. He took it home, put it on and took a picture. Then he deleted it.
    He...
  • CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
    The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the...
  • WASHINGTON (AP) The Washington Wizards have re-signed reserve guard Marcus Thornton.
    General manager Ernie Grunfeld announced the move Thursday, calling Thornton ''a proven veteran who gives ...
More inNBA News  

NBA Team Pages

Advertisement