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Preview 51 of 82: Thunder @ Heat

Preview 51 of 82: Thunder @ Heat

Time: 7:00 PM CST

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Game Notes: Thunder / Heat

The Oklahoma City Thunder (32-18) return to action tonight in the Magic City, taking on the Heat (24-25) at the American Airlines Center in Miami. The Thunder are one of seven NBA teams with a winning record on the road (15-11) and will be looking for their seventh straight victory overall. Miami enters as the number one team in the Southeast Division and is currently seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff race despite having a losing record and going 5-5 over their last 10 games.

Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 4.5-point road favorites according to Odds Shark.

Injury Report


  • Steven Adams: Questionable —Ankle
  • Terrance Ferguson: Questionable — Back
  • Andre Roberson: Out — Knee


  • Dwyane Wade: Probable — Knee
  • Derrick Jones Jr: Out — Knee
  • Goran Dragic: Out — Knee

Probable Starters

Heat: Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington, James Johnson, Hassan Whiteside




Four Factors




What to Watch For

“Questionable” Adams & Ferg. Steven Adams (ankle) and Terrance Ferguson (back) sat out Tuesday’s 126-117 win in Orlando, and both are “questionable” ahead of tonight’s game against the Heat. Hamidou Diallo and Nerlens Noel entered the starting lineup against the Magic and would likely do so again if needed. Diallo was a +7 in 17 minutes on Tuesday, scoring seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. Noel was a +12 in 34 minutes, contributing 12 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and a steal.

The Miami Attack. Josh Richardson leads the Heat in scoring at 17.3 PPG, followed by Dwyane Wade’s 13.8 PPG, Hassan Whiteside and Justice Winslow at 12.5 PPG, then Tyler Johnson’s 11.3 PPG. They’ll likely look to attack an OKC defense that gave up 53 PPG in the paint in January (second-most in NBA) and hope to find open shooters on the perimeter when/if the defense collapses. The Heat shoot 35.3 percent from long range (14th NBA) and have five healthy players shooting 35 percent or better from deep — Winslow (39.1%), Richardson (37.2%), Rodney McGruder (36.9%), Johnson (36.8%) and Wayne Ellington (36.4%). Miami will slash and do their best to get someone going.

Hands Full. Like I said above, the Thunder had trouble stopping teams down low in January. Opponents averaged 53 points in the paint (second-most in NBA), grabbed 12.1 offensive rebounds per game (fourth-most), and scored an average of 15.1 second-chance points (sixth-most). Whiteside and Bam Adebayo could be a problem near the rim if Adams is out or limited. OKC will also need to be vigilant about stopping Miami’s wings from creating looks near the rim off the dribble.

Heat Check. Paul George and Russell Westbrook are coming off strong performances on Tuesday in Orlando. George dropped 31 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 37 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Westbrook assaulted the rim and eliminated the waste of mid-range jumpers, resulting in a 23-14-14 triple-double on 7-of-12 shooting. The Thunder win this game if their superstar duo runs it back.

Nick Gallo’s game day report: