The Oklahoma City Thunder are set to face the Miami Heat on the back end of a back-to-back tonight at home as the start of a four-game homestand. The Heat will look for the season sweep against the Thunder after beating them in a convincing 118-90 victory earlier in the season.
The Thunder are coming off of a win against the Cavaliers on the road where the Thunder saw the youth display their talent. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 22, dominated. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points, dished out 9 assists, and picked up 4 rebounds last night. Theo Maledon, 19, and Hamidou Diallo, 22, both had strong nights scoring 14 and 15 respectively.
The Heat is blazing coming off of wins against the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Sacramento Kings. Against the reigning champions, the Heat saw an exciting performance from the second-year guard, Kendrick Nunn. Nunn, 25, accounted for 27 of the Heats 96 points and shot 10-14 from the field and 5-6 from beyond the arc.
The Heat are going to be without many of their key role players and contributors. Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, and Chris Silva are all out. Tyler Herro is questionable and Gabe Vincent is probable. The Thunder will still be missing George Hill (thumb) and will be without Al Horford due to rest on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Thunder should look to take control on the offensive side of the ball in order to win the game since the Heat often win their games by shutting down their opponents. The Heat are 7-0 this season when their opponents shoot under 40% from beyond the field and rank seventh in the NBA in points allowed per game.
The Heat should attempt to win by dominating the paint. The Thunder will be without Al Horford leaving them limited minutes with a center on the floor as Mike Muscala will likely be the only center active. The Thunder rank 5th worst in the NBA in opponent points in the paint per game so the Heat will have to dominate under the rim to control the game.