In a possible finals preview, the Miami Heat (35-11) head to Oklahoma City to take on the west’s number one team, the Thunder (36-12). It’ll be a matchup between 2 MVP candidates in LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who will be on his home court. For Miami, it’s not about the number one overall seed, but catching up to the Chicago Bulls, who are 40-10. The Heat have had a day of rest and are playing well now.
For the Heat, it’s important that James and Dwyane Wade get off to a good start. They will have to match what Durant and Rusell Westbrook, the Thunder’s two stars, the whole game. Chris Bosh has been playing well, and needs to continue to do so.
As for the rest of the Heat, the bench really needs to come up big. Oklahoma City has depth and many good players. It’s important for Udonis Haslem to get rebounds and to be able to hit jump shots. OKC has a great shot blocker in Serge Ibaka and a strong center in Kendrick Perkins, but Miami need to overcome that and find a way to get rebounds. Expect Erick Spoelstra to use new acquistion Ronny Turiaf for some extra rebounding and energy on the court.
OKC is led by Durant and Westbrook, but also have James Harden, an All-Star this year. Ibaka and Perkins will clog up the paint, but he will the guy left open and Miami needs to take care of him. The good news for the Heat is that they will be without ex-Heat draft pick, Daequan Cook, who has become one of the best shooters in the NBA.
This is the game of the week in the NBA considering it is a Finals matchup. Miami can’t lose too badly in the paint and need to take care of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. Not often do you see six all-stars in a game, but this is bound to be a good one. Tune into ESPN at 8pm and cheer the Heat on.
What do you think is the Heat’s key to victory? Check back at All U Can Heat after the game for post-game analysis.