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TONIGHT'S GAME: Oklahoma City Thunder (21-5) at Heat (18-6)
TIME: 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: AmericanAirlines Arena
TV: ABC (Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Lisa Salters)
Radio: AM 790/104.3 FM & The Heat Radio Network (Mike Inglis, John Crotty)
Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)
SERIES: Oklahoma City leads 30-18. The Thunder, formerly the Seattle Supersonics, is one of the only teams in the league to hold a winning record against the Heat in Miami. The Thunder is 13-11 all-time in Miami.
SCOUTING REPORT: The Heat is 10-3 against the Western Conference, including 6-1 at home. Golden State is the only Western Conference team with a win at AmericanAirlines Arena this season. Miami is ranked atop the league in field-goal percentage (.498) and three-point field-goal percentage (.411).
Miami has won on Christmas Day three seasons in a row. The Heat is 6-2 all-time on Christmas Day. The Heat’s last loss on Christmas (2007) was to the Cavaliers. LeBron James had 25 points. Apropos of nothing today, but the Heat is 4-0 all-time against the Lakers on Christmas. I guess that's alwasy worth mentioning.
The Thunder (21-5) is 10-2 against the Eastern Conference, including 5-1 on the road. Oklahoma City has won on Christmas two seasons in a row. Oklahoma City is ranked second in the league in points per game (105.1), field-goal percentage (.481) and three-point field-goal percentage (.402).
Before its loss to the Timberwolves on Thursday, the Thunder had won 12 games in a row, including four straight road games. While the Thunder is known for its explosive offense, the team's overall defense has been impressive as well. Opponents had averaged a meager 42 percent shooting against the Thunder over its first 26 games (96.2 points per game).
The Heat has made at least 10 three-pointers in three consecutive games. No Heat team has ever had four games in a row of double-digit threes. Miami has won its last four games by double digits. During its current four-game winning streak, the Heat has outscored its opponents by an average of 18.0 points per game. The Heat is shooting .508 during the streak while averaging 10.5 three-pointers per game, 10.25 steals per game and 6.25 blocks per game.
Opponents have committed an average of 20.25 turnovers per game during the Heat's four-game winning streak.
Over his past six games, Dwyane Wade is shooting 62.4 percent (53 of 85) from the field while averaging 4.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists.
LeBron James has scored at least 20 points in the Heat's first 24 games of the season. James' personal streak dates back to end of last season. James has scored at least 20 points in 29 straight regular-season games. Including the playoffs, he has scored at least 20 points in 45 games.
KEVIN MARTIN EFFECT
Many believed the Thunder would take a hit after the James Harden-for-Kevin Martin trade. It hasn't happened. Martin is shooting .469 from the field and .458 from three-point range for 15.7 points per game. He is ranked third on the team in scoring and is an impressive 101 of 108 from the free-throw line.
“I thought it was a good trade when it happened for both sides,” Dwyane Wade said. “Kevin Martin is a guy who brings something different to the team but he can score 20 a night. He’s proven it over the course of time.”
The Thunder hasn't change much from last season but Martin's ability has a catch-and-shoot scorer has opened things even more of the offense. Harden required the ball to produce. That's not the case with Martin, who plays well off the ball.
According to Synergy Sports, 30 percent of Martin's offense comes off of off-the-dribble jumpers. He is scoring 1.265 points per possession on those shots, which ranks in the top seven percent of the league's shooters.
"It puts the ball in [Russell] Westbrook and Durant’s hands more and that is a challenge,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Thunder is 11-2 when Westbrook and Durant each score at least 20 points in a game.
THEY SAID IT
“The most important thing is we’re being disruptive,” Wade said. “Most nights, we’re going to be out-sized but I think with our activity and our effort, we’re getting a lot of deflections and getting to a lot of loose balls. Turning teams over is what we love to do so we can get out on the open floor.”
—Dwyane Wade, on the Heat's current streak of opponents recording at least 20 turnovers
"It’s the same two teams. It’s not much of a different look. They’re missing Harden but they have a nice piece in Kevin Martin
and we’re the same with a different lineup but for the most part we have the
—LeBron James, debunking the myths daily
“It’s not going to be one guy guarding Kevin Durant. It’s going to be five guys on a swivel when he has the ball. Some thing
with Westbrook, we’ve got to contest and block his jumpers.”