NBA

more stats

103
Final 1234Score
Miami34202227103
Oklahoma City1730181681
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Wrap | Box
81


NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, February 20th (All times Eastern)

Miami Heat (38-14) at Oklahoma City Thunder (43-12), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - One of the best regular-season matchups, and a possible NBA Finals preview, takes center stage Thursday night when the two-time champion Miami Heat visit the Oklahoma City Thunder.

There are so many subplots in this game, but none bigger than the battle of MVP candidates. Right now, the award is OKC forward Kevin Durant's to lose, but Miami's LeBron James has taken the last two and four of the last five.

James, for one, wasn't interested in head-to-head discussions following the All-Star game this past weekend.

"I focus on the team game. I play team basketball. I've always played that way," James said after his Eastern Conference won on Sunday in New Orleans. "Obviously myself and Kevin are trying to do great things individually, and when we get that matchup, it is fun."

The Thunder won the first matchup of the season, a 112-95 drubbing of the Heat in South Beach on Jan. 29.

Durant netted 33 points and extended his 30-or-more points streak to 12 games, which was the longest in the league since the 2002-03 season. It was OKC's ninth consecutive win.

James finished with 34 points on that January night.

The Thunder own the NBA's best mark and may actually improve as a team. All- Star guard Russell Westbrook went through a full practice on Wednesday and is expected to return very soon, maybe even Thursday night.

"With Russell coming back, it adds a dynamic player on both ends of the floor," head coach Scott Brooks explained. "Russell doesn't get enough credit for this, but the defensive toughness that he demands and also his ability to get to the free throw line, those are the things that we like."

Westbrook had knee surgery in December and has missed 30 games this season. He attended every practice and shootaround while injured and even traveled with the team.

In doing so, Westbrook got to watch Durant and the Thunder win their last three, including two on the road. Before the break, OKC toppled the Portland Trail Blazers by three and the Los Angeles Lakers by four. Those two road victories gave the Thunder 20 on the season.

Oklahoma City opens the post-break portion of its schedule with six straight at home. The LA Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers all visit Chesapeake Energy Arena following the Heat.

Miami has also won three straight and the only thing stopping the Heat from a perfect 5-0 mark on this current road trip was a loss to the Utah Jazz on Feb. 8.

On Tuesday, James erupted for a season-high 42 points on an efficient 16-of-23 shooting display and fueled a late 14-0 run that put a 117-106 win over the Dallas Mavericks on ice. The four-time league MVP added nine rebounds and six assists for good measure as the Heat improved to 4-1 on a road trip.

"If we can continue to play at a high level defensively and continue to share the ball ... we will give ourselves a good chance to win," James said of Thursday's showdown.

Chris Bosh chipped in with 22 points, Chris Andersen contributed 18 off the bench and Dwyane Wade provided 13 points with seven assists.

The Heat swept both of last season's matchups and had a three-game series winning streak halted a few weeks ago. Miami has won six of the last eight in this series as the visitor.

02/20 10:33:07 ET

Other Stories

Schedule

Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Dallas85Final | Box
San Antonio «90
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. San Antonio leads series, 1-0.
Charlotte88Final | Box
Miami «99
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Miami leads series, 1-0.
Washington «102Final | Box
Chicago93
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Washington leads series, 1-0.
Portland272nd Qtr | Box
Houston20TNT, FSN-SW, KTXA
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: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASCAR: Toyota Owner's 400 from Richmond

    Saturday at 7:00 pm on FOX50

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls at Norfolk

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tuesday at 7:00 pm on 620am

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Wednesday at 11:05 am on 620am

  • MLB: LA Angels at NY Yankees

    Saturday at 1:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
9th
BOS 5
BAL 5
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
2nd
HOU 20
POR 27
 
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
1st
SJS 0
LOS 1
 
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3