Three down, three to go. After a big win in Orlando on Tuesday evening, the Sacramento Kings begin the second half of their season-long six-game road trip with a stop in Miami. Waiting for them is a well rested Heat team that sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Garrett Temple blew up against the Magic, scoring a career-best 34 points on 14-of-17 shooting. Willie Cauley-Stein added 21 points and nine rebounds to help the Kings snap an eight-game losing streak.
De'Aaron Fox underwent a precautionary MRI on Wednesday after suffering from abdominal tightness in the first half of the team's win in Orlando. The results were negative and he is likely to suit up for the Kings on Thursday.
Miami is coming off a five-game road trip and haven't played since Monday. They have some injury issues to deal with, but Erik Spoelstra always has his team ready to play.
Heat by 9
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Kings vs. South Beach Flu -- Miami is a notoriously difficult place for teams to play due to the vibrant nightlife, sandy beaches and aggressive style of play. It's been 17 years since the Kings came away with a victory at AmericanAirlines Arena. Sacramento's a young group coming off quality win. Hopefully they come in focused and ready to play.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 14-33, last place in Pacific
Heat: 27-20, first place in Southeast
Kings: PG De'Aaron Fox (abdominal tightness) probable, PF Zach Randolph (knee) probable, PF Skal Labissiere (shoulder) probable, PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (knee rehab) out for the season.
Heat: PG Goran Dragic (knee) questionable, SF Rodney McGruder (leg) out, G Tyler Johnson (ankle) out, SG Dion Waiters (ankle) out for the season.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Free Fox -- The Kings prized rookie appears to be fine after a scare on Tuesday. He was left out of the NBA's Rising Stars game, which should give him some major motivation coming into Miami. How will he respond to the snub?
Temple Run -- Temple is the Kings leader behind the scenes and against the Magic, he looked fresh and ready to play from the moment he stepped on the court. Sacramento's plan to sit veterans, but will they sit a guy who just torched a team or ride the hot hand?
Cauley-Stein vs. Hassan Whiteside -- This is a nice little matchup to keep an eye on. Whiteside has become a force for the Heat and Spoelstra has done a nice job keeping him fresh. Cauley-Stein struggled against Dwight Howard earlier in the week before showing well against the Magic. It's a big time battle of the bigs.
The Heat swept the season series last season 2-0. They have won six straight over Sacramento and an incredible 15 consecutive over the Kings in Miami dating back to November of 2001. The Heat hold a 40-17 advantage all-time over the Kings.