Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Miami Heat
Time: 7PM CST
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami
Counterpart: Hot Hot Hoops
The Thunder conclude their Florida trip tonight in Miami as they take on the Heat. The Thunder are in search of their 7th win in a row. Meanwhile, Miami finished January at 7-7, largely through beating teams they should and losing to better teams.
Two of the Thunder’s starters may not play again in this game. Both Steven Adams (ankle) and Terrance Ferguson (back), are questionable for the Heat game Friday night.
Thunder listing Steven Adams (ankle) and Terrance Ferguson (back) as questionable for Friday vs. Heat. Wade no longer on Heat injury report, just Dragic, Jones, Maten and Robinson as out.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) January 31, 2019
Despite not having either Ferguson or Adams, Oklahoma City will look to extend their winning streak. The Thunder did just that Tuesday versus the Magic. Jermani Grant and Nerlens Noel helped fill in for Adams’ absence, playing the most minutes on the team and finishing with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
The Heat are a very physical team and will be looking to start February off right after falling to the Chicago Bulls their last time out. They’re in a heated playoff race at the bottom of the eastern conference, so every game is important for them.
Keys to Victories
Containing Hassan Whiteside
With Adams potentially sitting out in this one, it makes harder to limit Miami center Hassan Whiteside. The Heat center is a huge presence in the paint, averaging 12 rebounds per game which ranks top ten in the league.
“We got to do a great job rebounding the ball, we’ve been inconsistent there, and we’ve got to try to be more consistent,” said Coach Billy Donovan.
Also, Whiteside adds in 12 points per game and two blocks per game. Unless the Thunder are able to draw Whiteside outside of the paint, it will be harder for Russell Westbrook to attack the rim at will.
Paul George’s flow
Over this six game win streak Paul George has been dominant on both ends of the court. Averaging over 30 points per game, while scoring 30 in five of the six games. However, Miami presents a different challenge for Oklahoma City, as they have multiple good wing defender to guard George.
George will most likely face a rotation of defenders featuring: Justise Winslow, James Johnson, and Josh Richardson. Since Miami is so well equipped to defense George, he should look to be the primary facilitator in this game over Westbrook.
Who do you think will win tonight?
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