The Heat continue their road trip by visiting the Sacramento Kings, who lost in Miami one week ago. Our 3-on-3 crew previews the rematch.
1. How will LeBron and Dwyane's next lob dunk go down?
Tom Haberstroh: Off the expressway, over the river, off the billboard, through the window, off the wall, nothing but net.
Michael Wallace: There isn't much these two can do to top the lob-and-lefty-finish-off-the-backboard stunt they pulled Christmas Day in L.A. But I totally see something along the lines of Wade attempting to catch a poorly thrown lob from Mario Chalmers, then deflecting the ball in midair to a streaking LeBron for the finishing flush. A double lob throwdown.
Brian Windhorst: Their best dunks to me have always been the touchdown pass variety rather than the 2-on-1 break versions. At some point, Wade is going to leak out on a missed jumper or free throw and LeBron is going to throw him a 90-foot alley-oop. They've been close. But I'm talking backboard-to-backboard pass and slam.
2. Fact or Fiction: DeMarcus Cousins is the third-best player in Friday's game.
Haberstroh: Fiction. Until Cousins learns to play defense, I'm still going with Chris Bosh on this one. And if you don't think Bosh is an above-average defender, you're not paying attention. If Cousins dedicates himself to that end of the floor as much as he does to pouting, then he'll be top 3 in this game.
Wallace: Fiction. But it depends on whether Wade plays or opts to sit out the first game of the back-to-back set with Portland on deck Saturday. If Wade sits, a strong case can be made that Cousins would only take a backseat to LeBron in terms of raw talent, athleticism and overall skill set. Consistency and attitude remain Cousins' biggest challenges.
Windhorst: Fiction. I'm going to use this pulpit to explain that Chris Bosh is, at this moment, a Hall of Fame player. This is a statement that tends to rile people up. It is not a commentary on Bosh's magnificence as much as it is who gets in the Hall of Fame. He's about to make his ninth All-Star team, he has two rings, a gold medal and he's not even 30. Check your history; there are many Hall of Famers without such a résumé. Also, he's one of the best shooting bigs in this era. Sorry, DMC.
3. Over/under: The Heat will score at least 60 points in the paint.
Haberstroh: Over, if Dwyane Wade plays. Under, if he doesn't. Considering this is the first game of a back-to-back and the Heat are playing at Portland on the second night, I'd assume Wade kicks up his feet for this one. If that's the case, it's tough to imagine the Heat getting into the paint as much without him. But anything is possible against the Swiss cheese that is the Sacramento defense.
Wallace: Under. Although the Heat scored a season-high 70 points in the paint when these teams met last week in Miami, these teams tend to get into strange shootouts in Sacramento. Last season saw Chalmers tie a franchise record for made treys. And Kings guard Isaiah Thomas nearly matched him shot-for-shot. This is more likely a game for Miami's 3-point specialists to get on track.
Windhorst: Under. This is not a tip of the cap to the Kings' defense but because Wade, the highest scoring guard in the paint this season, may not play. If I were the Heat, I'd want him playing in Portland tomorrow.