The Memphis Grizzlies are red hot. They've won eight straight games and moved up to the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. But here's the thing: LeBron James and the Miami Heat are even hotter. They own the NBA's longest active winning at 12 games and they are the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
These two teams will clash on ESPN at 7 p.m., so one of the best winning streaks will come to an end. The Heat (41-14) have the No. 1 offensive efficiency in the league. The Grizzlies (38-18) have the No. 2 defense. Something has to give.
LeBron James is in the midst of one of the best seasons in NBA history and he's coming off his best month of the year. Heat blog Hot Hot Hoops has more on this:
James is currently on par to have close to the greatest PER for a season in the history of the league, and that's largely in part to his incredible month of February. 38.5 PER is far above anyone else. For the month, James averaged 29.7 PPG, 7.8 APG, 7.5 RPG, and 1.9 SPG. That includes his incredible 40 points, 16 assists (career high) and 8 rebounds last night against the Kings in double OT. On top of all this, James shot a scorching 64.1% from the field, including 43% from three, and 80% from the line
A 12-1 record for the month is great for the HEAT, and it matches their longest win streak in the Big 3 era, but James' 38.5 is the highest PER for a month in his career. It's hard to imagine a better month for the reigning MVP. He has never shot this well in his career, and the wins are proof of his impact.
LeBron and the Heat are having fun right now. They look like the clear-cut leader in the East, and things are going about as well as anyone could have expected. The team put out a Harlem Shake video yesterday, and here's a terrific GIF from an extensive post on the video from SB Nation NBA.
The Grizzlies may be able to get the Heat off their game because Miami doesn't really have an answer down low for Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph has a double-double average for the season (15.8 points, 11.7 rebounds), and over the last 10 games he's posted 17.2 points per contest on 45.2 percent shooting to go with 11.5 boards. Gasol has been just as good recently, with 14.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in his last 10 games.
Shane Battier (hamstring) is the only player on the injury report for either team, and he will reportedly be available to play.
The Heat are eight-point favorites to win, according to Odds Shark, and the over/under for the game is 186 points.