SACRAMENTO -- Icing on the cake? The Miami Heat have had the Sacramento Kings’ number for nearly two decades. After years of failures in South Beach, the Kings snapped 15-game losing streak in Miami in January, winning at AmericanAirlines for the first time since 2001.
Buddy Hield led the way with 24 points the last time these two teams faced off, but it was rookie De’Aaron Fox that stole the show. The 20-year-old point guard tracked a Bogdan Bogdanovic miss and hammered it back with 3.3 seconds remaining to give the Kings an 89-88 win.
Miami is fighting for playoff position in the Eastern Conference. They currently sit in the eighth spot, but they are tied in the win column with both the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards are only two games ahead for the fifth seed in the East.
Heat by 7
MATCHUP TO WATCH
De’Aaron Fox vs. Goran Dragic -- Fox put up his second double-double of the season against OKC and he tied his career-high with 10 assists. He’s looking to set up his teammates and he’s been more aggressive in the second half of the season. Dragic made his first All-Star appearance this season and he’s the motor that drives the Heat. Fox has a major advantage in quickness, but Dragic is as crafty as they come.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 21-47, fourth place in Pacific
Heat: 36-32, second place in Southeast
Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (hip) questionable, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (knee/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (knee rehab) out for the season.
Heat: SG Dwyane Wade (hamstring) out, C Hassan Whiteside (hip) out, SG Dion Waiters (ankle) out for the season.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Defensive Effort -- The Kings showed up on the second night of a back-to-back on Monday in OKC. They brought toughness and effort, despite falling down the stretch. They need to bring that same effort on their home floor against a quality Eastern Conference opponent.
Shooters off the Bench -- The Heat love to launch from the perimeter, especially with their second unit. Reserve Wayne Ellington shoots 7.5 3-pointers per game off the bench and last time these two teams faced off he knocked down 6-of-13 from deep on his way to 20 points. Sacramento has struggled to defend the 3-ball all season long. If they don’t stay with Miami’s shooters, they’ll get burned.
Play Spoiler -- Miami is firmly planted in the playoffs, but they would love nothing more than to move up in the East. The Kings aren’t playing for anything but pride. Sacramento has a chance to change the look of the playoff picture for more than one team as they head towards the finish line.
The Kings lead the season-series 1-0 after a stunning win over the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena in January. The Heat hold a 40-18 advantage all-time over the Kings.