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Some like it Hot: Sizzling Durant, LeBron check it up in Miami

(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the NBA's best hook up in a possible NBA Finals preview Wednesday night when the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder visit South Beach to take on the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.

The Thunder head into the matchup the winners of eight straight, while the Heat have been a perfect 3-0 during this homestand, which wraps up Wednesday night.

LeBron James has won the last two MVP awards and four of the last five, but it appears Kevin Durant's to lose at the halfway point of the season.

James is a surefire candidate once again, averaging 26.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 6.5 apg. Those numbers, coupled with an outrageous 58 percent shooting from the field, make James hard to beat.

Except for Durant who has been on a massive tear of late. On Monday, he scored 41 against the Atlanta Hawks, including the winning jumper with 1.5 seconds left. He has scored 30 or more in 11 straight games, the longest streak of its kind since Tracy McGrady did it in 14 consecutive contests in March and April of 2003.

"There's nothing more to say," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said of Durant. "He's a special player. He's going to be an MVP candidate until he decides to retire. He's an amazing teammate, which I'm as proud of that, as he is as a player. He cares about the game. He cares about his team. He cares about Oklahoma City. He's just a great ambassador, not only to our team but the league and to the basketball world."

Durant, who was 15-of-25 from the floor, 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and 6-of-8 from the foul line, led OKC to a 111-109 victory in Atlanta.

The Thunder were down eight at the start of the fourth, but Durant led them back and gave them the lead with 25.5 seconds left. Paul Millsap scored for the Hawks, then Durant pulled up from the right elbow and swished in the jumper before a pair of Hawks players were able to converge on him.

Reggie Jackson, who has done admirable work in the absence of Russell Westbrook, finished with 18 points, followed by 14 from Jeremy Lamb off the bench.

The Heat picked up their third consecutive victory in relative ease Sunday when they won a Finals rematch against the San Antonio Spurs. Miami prevailed 113-101 although the final score wasn't indicative of the closeness.

Chris Bosh scored 24 points and James tallied 18 in the win. Bosh hit on 9- of-10 attempts and Mario Chalmers went 6-of-8 in a 16-point, seven-assist effort. James added seven rebounds and six assists before sitting the entire fourth quarter with Miami up big.

Dwyane Wade returned to action for Miami following a four-game absence due to knee soreness, recording eight points and five assists over 24 minutes in his first game coming off the bench since Jan. 6, 2008.

Now, the Heat and Thunder will battle in a rematch of the 2011-2012 NBA Finals. Miami prevailed then, and it could've been a rematch if Westbrook didn't get hurt in the first round last year.

But the matchup everyone wants to see is Durant vs. James.

"Obviously, any time you go against one of the best players in the league, you definitely get up for it," said James. "You love going against great competitors and he's one of them. I always look forward to playing against him."

The Heat beat the Thunder in five games for the first ring of this version of the Big Three. Miami has taken three straight against OKC in the regular season although the two squads have split the last four regular-season tilts in South Beach.

01/29 10:01:44 ET

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Schedule

Saturday, April 19Full Scoreboard
Brooklyn «94Final | Box
Toronto87
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Brooklyn leads series, 1-0.
Golden State «109Final | Box
LA Clippers105
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Golden State leads series, 1-0.
Atlanta «101Final | Box
Indiana93
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Atlanta leads series, 1-0.
Memphis834th Qtr 2:41 | Box
Oklahoma City95ESPN, YES, TSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Toronto 48 34 .585 --- 26-15 22-19 32-20 L 1
x-Brooklyn 44 38 .537 4 28-13 16-25 26-26 L 2
New York 37 45 .451 11 19-22 18-23 26-26 W 4
Boston 25 57 .305 23 16-25 9-32 21-31 L 2
Philadelphia 19 63 .232 29 10-31 9-32 14-38 W 2
 
Central W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Indiana 56 26 .683 --- 35-6 21-20 38-14 W 2
x-Chicago 48 34 .585 8 27-14 21-20 35-17 L 1
Cleveland 33 49 .402 23 19-22 14-27 21-31 W 1
Detroit 29 53 .354 27 17-24 12-29 23-29 L 4
Milwaukee 15 67 .183 41 10-31 5-36 12-40 L 3
 
Southeast W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Miami 54 28 .659 --- 32-9 22-19 34-18 L 3
x-Washington 44 38 .537 10 22-19 22-19 33-19 W 4
x-Charlotte 43 39 .524 11 25-16 18-23 30-22 W 3
x-Atlanta 38 44 .463 16 24-17 14-27 28-24 W 1
Orlando 23 59 .280 31 19-22 4-37 17-35 L 4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
2013 - 2014 Western Conference Standings
 
Northwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Oklahoma City 59 23 .720 --- 34-7 25-16 36-16 W 1
x-Portland 54 28 .659 5 31-10 23-18 31-21 W 5
Minnesota 40 42 .488 19 24-17 16-25 23-29 L 3
Denver 36 46 .439 23 22-19 14-27 20-32 L 2
Utah 25 57 .305 34 16-25 9-32 13-39 W 1
 
Pacific W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-LA Clippers 57 25 .695 --- 34-7 23-18 36-16 L 1
x-Golden State 51 31 .622 6 27-14 24-17 31-21 W 2
Phoenix 48 34 .585 9 26-15 22-19 28-24 W 1
Sacramento 28 54 .341 29 17-24 11-30 15-37 L 1
LA Lakers 27 55 .329 30 14-27 13-28 15-37 W 2
 
Southwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-San Antonio 62 20 .756 --- 32-9 30-11 38-14 L 2
x-Houston 54 28 .659 8 33-8 21-20 31-21 L 1
x-Memphis 50 32 .610 12 27-14 23-18 29-23 W 5
x-Dallas 49 33 .598 13 26-15 23-18 29-23 L 1
New Orleans 34 48 .415 28 22-19 12-29 15-37 W 2
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls at Norfolk

    Today at 1:05 pm on 620am

  • NBA: Bobcats at Miami

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Tonight at 7:05 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
Final
WAS 3
STL 4
Final
CLE 0
TOR 5
Final
DET 5
ANA 2
Final
BOS 4
BAL 2
Final
KAN 5
MIN 4
Final
CHC 8
CIN 4
Final
OAK 4
HOU 3
Final
PIT 7
MIL 8
Final
NYM 5
ATL 7
Final
TAM 16
NYY 1
Final
MIA 7
SEA 0
Final
TEX 6
CWS 3
Final
LOS 8
ARI 6
Final
COL 3
PHI 1
Final
SDP 3
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
ATL
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
SEA
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
NYY
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
 
Final
TOR 87
BRK 94
Final
LAC 105
GSW 109
Final
IND 93
ATL 101
4th
OKC 93
MEM 81
 
1:00pm Today
SAN
DAL
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
STL 4
CHI 3
Final
PIT 3
CLB 4
3rd
COL 3
MIN 1
 
12:00pm Today
NYR
PHI
3:00pm Today
BOS
DET
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR