Heat vs. Warriors preview: Miami's on-off switch will test Golden State

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors are coming off a game where they allowed their opponent to go on a backbreaking run, and that's bad news against the Miami Heat and LeBron James, capable users of the on-off switch.

Pressing the on-off switch is a bit of a theme for the Miami Heat this season.

The defending NBA champions have struggled to stay focused, especially on the defensive end, but have survived thanks to intense spurts behind none other than LeBron James.

Coming off a loss to the Utah Jazz where one of those streaks, a 21-5 burst, fell short in a 104-97 loss, the Heat head to Oakland on Wednesday to face a Golden State Warriors team that was on the other end of such as streak on Sunday. Mark Jackson's team fell to the Nuggets, 116-105, after a 19-2 Denver run to begin the fourth quarter turned Denver's eight-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

So James, who is 18 points away from becoming the youngest player to reach 20,000 career points, would love to hit that power button and help Miami (24-12) put away a surprise Golden State team (23-13) that could be without 20-point per game scorer and floor general Stephen Curry. The point guard re-injured his right ankle during Wednesday's shootaround and is a gametime decision.

Golden State has found balance this season on both ends of the floor.

The Warriors rank 11th in both offensive rating and defensive rating this year, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Meanwhile, Miami has gotten away from its intense defense of last season, and the Heat sit with an average defensive rating that's 15th in the NBA this season.

Erik Spoelstra's club is dead-last in rebounds per game, and they'll likely find issues against the Warriors' very talented frontline that includes potential All-Star David Lee (20 points and 11 rebounds per game) and energetic forward Carl Landry.

For the undersized Heat, James leads the team in rebounds with 8.2 per game -- then again, he leads in every major statistical category outside of blocks.

The Heat are the best three-point shooting team in the NBA, hitting 39.5 percent of their attempts. Just behind them are the Warriors, who shoot 39.2 percent from deep but would be less able in that regard without Curry on the floor.

If anything, though, Golden State only needs to look to its last game to see how to win.

Avoid slips in focus to avoid Miami's penchant for pressing the on-switch, and the Warriors will at least have a chance.

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