NBA Preview: Road Warriors Visit South Beach to Tackle LeBron James' Miami Heat

Matt ParkerContributor IIIDecember 12, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - FILE: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on January 10, 2012 in Oakland, California. According to sources on May 12, 2012, LeBron James of the Miami Heat will win his third MVP award. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The surprise Golden State Warriors bring their 8-4 road record to American Airlines Arena tonight when they take on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat champs.

The Warriors are currently the fifth seed in the Western conference, just a game behind Lob City. They've won seven of their last eight, including the first four on the team's current seven-game road trip.

At 14-7, Golden State is off to its best start since the 1991-92 season when they featured All-Star Tim Hardaway and Dream Teamer Chris Mullin, who was rounding out a four-year run over which he averaged 25.7 points per game.

It took the team 32 games to reach 14 wins last season.

Of course, it helps to have your best player healthy and playing at a high level.

After missing 40 games last year and undergoing his second ankle surgery in as many seasons, Stephen Curry is leading the resurgence in Oakland.

Curry, the NBA's active leader in three-point percentage at a shade over 44 percent, is averaging 20 points, four rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while playing in all 21 contests.

Meanwhile, Miami returns to action after a great win against division foe Atlanta Monday, improving its home record to 10-1.

Guard Dwyane Wade has shot 80 percent over his last two games and has averaged 31.6 points per game on 52 percent shooting in his last 12 games against the boys from the Bay Area.

While the Heat gets more than its fair share of what coach Erik Spoelstra likes to call "noise," the Warriors have largely flown under the radar.

Consider this: Mark Jackson's club owns the seventh-best record in the entire league a quarter of the way into the season.

Big man David Lee is averaging a double-double and rookie Harrison Barnes has been a pleasant surprise.

Second-year guard Klay Thompson is scoring better than 18 points per game on this current East Coast swing.

And not a single player on the active roster is older than 29.

With just one playoff run since Chris Webber's 1993-94 Rookie of the Year campaign when they resoundingly took down the 67-win Dallas Mavericks in 2007 before falling to the Utah Jazz in Round 2, Curry and company could be looking at brighter days ahead.