Surging Warriors face big challenge in defending champs

USA Today SportsNo sweat: Warriors stars David Lee

The Warriors have had no problems so far on their seven-game road trip, but things will get a little more difficult at the next stop.

Golden State will put its four-game winning streak on the line when it visits the defending champion Miami Heat today. The Heat have taken back-to-back games and are 10-1 at home while leading the Eastern Conference in
scoring.

Golden State’s duo of Stephen Curry and David Lee continues to power the team forward. The two combined for 52 points in Monday’s win at Charlotte and have each gone over 20 in all four games of the road trip.

The road finally looked like it was getting to Golden State in the fourth quarter at Charlotte, when the Warriors managed just three field goals. Luckily, they entered that frame with a 19-point lead and held on for the win.

Curry and Lee have been so consistent that Golden State is now just looking around for other people to step up and shoulder some of the load.

Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry combined for 28 off the bench in that regard on Monday.

The Warriors have gone over 100 points in each of the first four games of the road trip but things get more difficult on the back end. After Miami, Golden State heads to Orlando to face the Magic, who earned a 102-94 win in Oakland on Dec. 3, before finishing up with another playoff contender in the Atlanta Hawks.

The Warriors have taken 11 of the last 14 overall to put pressure on the Los Angeles Clippers atop the Pacific Division.

After a brief stumble last week, Miami has been strong of late.

The Heat is enjoying a stretch of 10 of 11 games at home and has tightened things up on the defensive end in the last two games. After allowing 108.5 points in back-to-back losses, the Heat have held New Orleans and Atlanta to 91.

Wade has also picked up his efficiency. The star guard has struggled with his shot off and on this season, but is a combined 20-of-25 from the field in the last two.

The Heat dropped the lone meeting with the Warriors last season, 111-106 in overtime at Golden State. Wade went for 34 points and James had 26 but Miami allowed four scorers to reach 20 points for the Warriors, including Lee’s 20 and 14 rebounds.

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