Upstart Warriors face challenge at Miami

The Golden State Warriors look to keep a perfect road trip alive Wednesday night when they visit AmericanAirlines Arena to take on the defending champion Miami Heat.

The Warriors, perhaps the biggest surprise this season in the NBA, have bested the Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats on this sojourn east.

Things get much tougher Wednesday versus the Heat. The Warriors still have road dates in Orlando against the Magic and in Atlanta to take on the Hawks, but Golden State is assured of a winning record on this long trek.

"We came in and worked our tails off and prepared ourselves for this season," said head coach Mark Jackson. "I didn't put any limitations on us; we are 14-7 with eight road wins. We are playing great as individuals and on the group effort. There are no limitations on this team."

The 14-7 start is the best in Warriors' history since the 1991-92 season. They won the first four games of a road trip for the first time since 1978 and are 8-1 against the Eastern Conference this season.

The Warriors have done it this season without center Andrew Bogut, but they are getting massive production from three players and a solid bench.

Steph Curry (20.0 ppg), David Lee (18.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) and Klay Thompson (15.9 ppg) have filled the stat sheet, while Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack are both averaging double figures off the bench.

Golden State will get a staunch test from the Heat, who have looked shaky of late.

The Heat have won two in a row with home wins over the New Orleans Hornets and Atlanta Hawks, but they got blown out on Thursday at home against the New York Knicks and fell in Washington to the lowly Wizards just before that.

In the two losses, the Heat surrendered 108.5 ppg, but in their last two wins, they held the opposition to 91.0 ppg.

"There's lessons learned every time you lose or win," said LeBron James. "We understood what we needed to do. One week later, we've continued in the right direction. It's not perfect now. We have a lot of room for improvement still."

This is the fourth of six straight at home for the Heat, who are 10-1 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat have owned the month of December with a 22-3 mark in their last 25 during the month.

The Warriors won last season's only meeting, in Golden State, 111-106 in overtime. Miami won six in a row before that and the Warriors haven't won in South Beach since Mar. 7, 2008.