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Game Preview: Heat return home to take on OKC Thunder

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The Miami Heat return home from a 5-game road trip, and now they'll have to play one of the toughest teams out West in Miami, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat are taking on their 2012 NBA Finals opponent, the Thunder. Here's our GameTime Preview that gives you everything you need to get ready for some Miami Heat basketball!

DETAILS
Oklahoma City Thunder (20-20) @ Miami Heat (18-22)
When: 7:30 PM EST @ AmericanAirlines Arena
TV: NBATV, SunSports

Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Mario Chalmers
Andre Roberson SG Dwyane Wade
Kevin Durant SF Luol Deng
Serge Ibaka PF Chris Bosh
Steven Adams C Hassan Whiteside

GAME PREVIEW
After returning home from a 3-2 west coast road trip, the Heat face one the league's premier teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although their record doesn't reflect it, the Thunder are going to give the Heat all they can handle in this one. At 20-20, the Thunder are recovering from a slow start to the season due to injuries from both Durant and Westbrook.

Miami, at 18-22, seems like they are beginning to turn some things around. Over the past 3 weeks, the emergence of Hassan Whiteside has sparked new life into the organization, even despite all the early season struggles they have had. Whiteside has started the last two games over Chris Andersen, and we expect him to again.

The Heat are 7-12 at home and need to correct their home woes before it's too late.

Dwyane Wade has missed the last 2 1/2 games due to a hamstring strain, but he was a full participant in practice on Monday. The Heat list him as questionable, but Joe Goodman from the Miami Herald said Wade should be considered probable to play as he has had the last 6 days off the recover. Wade said this injury isn't near the severity as what caused him to miss 7 games earlier this year.

The key to this game obviously is going to come down to whether or not the Heat can contain Westbrook and Durant. Both of them have been on a roll lately. The Heat have always struggled with Westbrook, and their best case is to hope that Russell has one of his off mid-range shooting games. With Durant, Miami hopes that Luol Deng is up for the task to make life difficult on him for 48 minutes.

Returning from a long road trip is always difficult to find your legs on the first game back. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Heat get off to a slow start, especially against an offensive powerhouse like the Thunder. Oklahoma City is the best rebounding team in the NBA, so the Heat will really have to focus on the glass to compete against the Thunder.

The game is being televised on NBATV.

Make sure you come back and join us for our GameThread about 30 minutes before the game.