Historically, once these two franchises meet, great things happen. Sunday night would be no different as the Oklahoma City Thunder hosted the three-time NBA Champion Miami Heat. Their prior meeting at American Airlines Arena in Miami featured 38 lead changes, a feat that hadn’t been seen in the NBA during the last 15 seasons. Thunder stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant finished the game with 25 point apiece but it was Miami’s own Dwyane Wade who led the Heat to the victory by scoring the last eight points of the contest.
Going into the contest the Heat were 13-1 in games where they had fewer turnovers than their opponents.
Wait……Was that a Dream Shake by Hassan Whiteside?
With the Thunder leading by two at the halfway point, Russell Westbrook had a steady first half with 10 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds all the while seemingly playing under control but with that said he did have a powerful slam that reminds all of how ferocious a competitor he remains.
As odd as it is to believe Hassan Whiteside is extending the range on his jump shot. He banged in a 18 footer with nothing but confidence and ease. To date it’s definitely not the preferred shot that the Heat would like Whiteside to take but it’s a shot worth noting, that could become a dangerous weapon in the near future.
During a time when the Heat threatened to take control of the game, the Thunder responded with a 17-2 run before Wade silenced the crowd with a tough banked shot however the Thunder proved stronger as the run stretched to 21-6 late in the 3rd.
The Thunder would eventually take the quarter 31-16.
During the early stages of the quarter Wade committed the Heat’s 18th turnover as he dribbled the ball off of his foot while attempting to execute a spin move, typical of the night and the Heat thus far this season.
On the opposite end of the pendulum, Russell Westbrook secured his second consecutive Triple Double and his 5th for the season. Twenty four career Triple Doubles isn’t bad for the enigmatic young star.
The Heat fell to the Thunder 99-74, their largest defeat of the season. The victory gave the Thunder their 30th win of the season in impressive fashion. They used a steady, balanced attack to wrestle the game from the Heat and were aided by 19 turnovers as opposed to their 14. Shooting slightly better than their previous meeting the Thunder finished with 41% of their field goals being made.
After falling to 2-4 on their west coast swing, the Heat have some pondering to do. Despite playing without star guard Goran Dragic (calf) Sunday night; the Heat have played inconsistently for much of the season.
Aiden Setter, of The Hardwood Nation, believes that the Heat should make a move at the point guard position. Such a move could remedy their inconsistent play and possibly set them on a championship course.
Dragic and Udrih need to be traded. Dragic is confirming what I thought about his contract was in the offseason. He is overpaid. He doesn’t compliment Dwyane Wade. That is a problem when you consider the fact the Wade is the best player on the team. I think Miami needs to either trade for a new starter or put Johnson in the starting 5. I feel like if you are going to have Dragic you need to have him come off the bench. If Miami was to trade for a new PG I would Like to see Mike Conley or Jrue Holiday. I think Dragic could play well with both teams but I think it would be easier to get Holiday. He is essentially a better Mario Chalmers. He is a good shooter, facilitator, defender and has decent athleticism. Conley is athletic, can hit the 3, a great defender, and a good passer. I think he could run the pick and roll well with Whiteside and Bosh also. Conley is a free agent this offseason and some people think he could leave Memphis. He would turn Miami into a contender.
For the Stat-heads:
Russell Westbrook is second in the league this season for double-doubles (Andre Drummond).