The Oklahoma City Thunder (2-3) are staying in Florida as they travel to Miami to take on the reigning Eastern Conference Champions Heat (2-3) on Monday. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
Here are four notes for Monday’s matchup.
Matchup of ugly offenses
This game will see the 27th ranked offense in the NBA in terms of offensive rating in Miami take on the 29th ranked offense in the NBA in terms of offensive rating with the Thunder.
After a surprise run to the Finals this past October, the Heat have started off slow with their 2020-21 campaign as they sit at 2-3.
With such bad offenses, expect this game to reminisce of early 2000s basketball when it comes to scoring.
Heat Playoff Legend Jimmy Butler is scoring just 8.3 PPG on a hideous 32.1 FG% in three games this season, Butler has also only taken one three.
Butler has dealt with a nagging ankle injury and also had the shortest offseason possible, so sounding the alarms now about Butler’s poor play is premature. But it is still surprising to see an All-NBA player struggle so badly right out the gate of a new season.
Dort & Bradley Comparison
Avery Bradley has been one of Miami’s best players as he is averaging 14.3 PPG while shooting 47.6% from three on 5.3 attempts.
When it comes to finding players who are comparable to Dort, players like Marcus Smart get brought up often. But I think Bradley is a really good comparison when discussing career trajectories. Bradley has been an elite perimeter defender who can score and shooting from three on respectable levels.
In terms of value in the league, I can definitely see Dort reach Prime Avery levels of importance, especially if he develops into a competent outside shooter. It is hard to imagine Dort reach Bradley levels of shooting, but Dort can be a bigger and more physical version of Bradley.
Bradley’s status for this game is unknown as he did not practice Sunday due to health and safety protocols.
Raining 3s in Miami
The Thunder are fourth in the NBA in three-point attempts a game while the Heat allows the third-most three-pointers a game. These two stats could be the ingredients for a heavy three-point shooting game for Oklahoma City.
The Thunder has surprisingly been one of the better three-point shooting teams this season, ranking 11th when it comes to threes made a game. The team is taking a high volume of threes as their starting lineup consists of five guys who can stretch the floor. This seems to be something Coach Daigneault really emphasizes on offense.
Thus far, the Thunder is a high volume, low efficiency outside shooting team as they are shooting 32.5% on 39.4 attempts a game.
Coach Daigneault announced Sunday afternoon that Aleksej Pokusevski suffered a concussion during practice as he hit his head on someone’s knee.
Coach Daigneault on Aleksej Pokusevski's concussion: "It was just a live portion of the practice for him, he just fell on somebody's knee and was hit pretty good. He's doing well and is in good spirits."— Clemente Almanza (@CAlmanza1007) January 3, 2021
This isn’t good news for OKC because getting a concussion is dangerous and can deteriorate a player’s confidence and health, especially someone as young as Pokusevski.
Pokusevski will miss the Heat game and I expect his 16 minutes to be picked up by Isaiah Roby and Kenrich Williams.