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Game Preview: Heat take on the Thunder in the first of a tough back-to-back

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Miami meets Oklahoma City for the first time this season, hoping to reach the .500 mark for the 8th time since December 23.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat
Apr 9, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) fouls Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half at American Airlines Arena.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (24-25) will be hoping to reach the .500 mark for the 13th time this season when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-18) in the first night of a testing back-to-back.

The Heat are scheduled to play just five games at the AAA this month, and although the team seems to perform much better on the road, the time is now to start improving the poor 11-14 home record.

Tonight’s game will see the Heat turning their attention to a team that has been on fire of late. The Thunder provide a different kind of test for Erik Spoelstra’s squad, and given just how well they have been playing recently; it is not going to be easy.

Oklahoma City occupies the third seed in the Western Conference with its 32-18 record and will hope to make it seven straight wins as they continue to look like a threat out west. Billy Donovan’s team arrive in Miami with a road record of 15-11 and have won seven of their last ten games.

The team is lead by Russell Westbrook, who’s averaging a triple-double this season with 21.7 points per game, 10.9 rebounds and 10.8 assists. Westbrook also averages 2.3 steals per game which sees him tied as the league leader with teammate Paul George, whom himself is having a career year.

George leads the team in scoring with 27.3 points per game, which means together they average 49.0 points combined each night and will take some stopping, should the Heat go on to claim a big win.

The game will be the first time the two teams have met on the year, with the second scheduled for later next month. Last season, Oklahoma City swept the season series and also holds a five-game win streak against Miami, who is 13-17 when taking on the Thunder at home.

Probable Starters:

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

Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Hamidou Diallo, Paul George, Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel

Injury Report:

Heat: Dwyane Wade (knee) - Probable, Goran Dragic (knee) - Out, Derrick Jones Jr (knee) - Out

Thunder: Steven Adams (right ankle sprain) - Questionable, Terrance Ferguson (back spasms) - Questionable, Andre Roberson (left patellar tendon) - Out

Broadcast Info:

  • Tip-Off: 8:00PM
  • TV: FOX Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty, Jason Jackson)
  • Radio: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Mike Inglis)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

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