Preview: GS Warriors at Miami Heat 1-2-2014

USA TODAY Sports

Can the hottest team in the NBA beat the HEAT? With Draymond Green on the court, it's happened before

Golden State Warriors (20-13) at Miami HEAT (24-7)

4:30 p.m. PT

American Airlines Arena - Miami, FL

TV: CSNBA/HD| Radio: KTCT 1050

Buddy blog: Hot Hot Hoops

Our act travels well - Mark Jackson

So far so good - the Warriors are riding the longest win streak in the NBA at the moment (and their longest in years) and the first two games of this trip are firmly in the win column. If Phoenix loses to Memphis tonight, Golden State has a chance to move from seventh in the West to a tie for fifth with Houston. The Dubs have the  8th-highest winning percentage in the league right now - and Miami is at 5th.

The point: Stephen Curry is having an amazing year, and we're going to be privileged in 2014 to see him on the All-Star team. The only guard having a better year by WS/48 is Chris Paul. Mario Chalmers isn't in Steph's class - but he doesn't need to be. As always, LeBron James is the primary facilitator on the HEAT,  so the matchups will be nearly positionless.

On the wing: The King is still the best player in the NBA, although Kevin Durant is having a slightly better year. (All comparisions based on ws/48 and over 400 minutes played - no, it's not perfect, but it will do for a simple basis). But we're positionless, so you have to factor him in everywhere. Curry is far from the only top player on the perimeter, even if you count LBJ as the power forward he often is. Depending on health, this game will feature 4 more of the top-31 guard/wings in the Association: Dwyane Wade (13th), Andre Iguodala (19th), Ray Allen (29th) and Klay Thompson (31st).

Up front: It doesn't get any easier up front. In addition to James, among the bigs Chris Anderson is rated 8th, and Chris Bosh is tied at 14th with David Lee. Lee and Andrew Bogut (20th) have their work cut out for them tonight.

Overall: 260 players have played over 400 minutes this year, and the median value of their ws/48 is (as it should be) .100. For the Warriors, only one bench player is above the median, and that's Draymond Green at .103, ranking him 122nd of those 260. Harrison Barnes is at .078, leaving him tied at 167th with Shane Battier. (Marrese Speights is at .082, but is just shy of 4oo minutes.)

So there you have it. Five guards capable of being the best perimeter player on a team, if the league were actually equitable. Five bigs capable of being the best big on a team. Six of the top-30 players active right now. It should be one heck of a game.

Predictions:

  • Warriors by 1 in OT
  • David Lee records a block for the second game in a row
  • Someone complains about partying in South Beach
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