Game #68: Oklahoma City Thunder (43-23) vs. Miami Heat (46-21)

MIAMI - MARCH 14: Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat smiles against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena on March 14, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

It's been a streaky couple of weeks for the Miami Heat and lately they have been streaking in the right direction.  Following a run of 5 straight losses, the Heat have now won 3 in a row, all against some of the better teams in the Western Conference.  Miami gets another crack at the West tonight when they welcome 4th place Oklahoma City to the AAA.

The Thunder come in having won 7 of their last 8 games and lead the Denver Nuggets by 3½ games in the Northwest Division.  After acquiring Kendrick Perkins from Boston at the trade deadline, the oft-injured center made his OKC debut during their last game, a 17-point win over Washington.  He picked up 6 points and 9 boards while playing 20 minutes.

A big part of the Heat's recent resurgence has been Chris Bosh's re-dedication to creating a low post presence.  He is averaging 24.0 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 61.4% from the field during Miami's 3-game win streak, this coming after averaging just 14.6 points and 8.1 boards on 38.3% shooting in the 7 games leading up to it. 

The Heat won the first meeting between the two teams back in late January, 108-103.  Dwyane Wade led the way with 32 points and Eddie House hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 22.2 seconds left then a pair of free throws to ice the game.  It was the first time the Big 3 had played together in almost 3 weeks and they combined for 75 points in the win. 

If you remember, this is the game when Kevin Durant called Chris Bosh a "fake tough guy".  Bosh was asked about it yesterday following practice and he said that it was a non-issue, that he and Durant had talked during All-Star weekend and all was good.  Players will sometimes say things in the heat of the moment following a game, and overall they seem to be pretty sympathetic towards one another on this issue. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat has won back-to-back games by 30+ points, only the 2nd time they've done that in franchise history and the first time since 1996. 
  • Miami is 21-3 when the Big 3 combine to score at least 75 points. 
  • Thunder guard James Harden has scored in double figures in a career best 13 straight games.
  • Dwyane Wade is averaging 3 steals over his last 3 games. 
  • Oklahoma City is 20-6 against the Eastern Conference. 
  • Kevin Durant has scored 30 or more points in each of his last 4 games against the Heat. 
  • Udonis Haslem (foot) and Dexter Pittman (knee) are out for Miami.
  • Oklahoma City will be without Nate Robinson, who is out with a knee injury. 

Tipoff from the AAA is set for 8pm, another late start due to the game being broadcast nationally.  If you want to go to the game but don't have tickets, don't forget about Peninsula Is Mightier's partnership with TiqIQ that not only helps you get tickets right here on PIM but they also search through several ticket selling websites and finds you the best deals out there.  Click here to see what's available.

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