Miami Heat (21-18) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (8-33)
Sunday, Jan. 18
Oklahoma City, OK
6:00 PM CST
TV: KSBI-52 (Cox 9)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
View from the other side: Peninsula is Mightier
We all know what's on the line tonight. And we all know it's more than possible. Over the past two and half weeks, Oklahoma City has played its best basketball of the season and beaten two pretty good teams.
Much like the last two solid teams the Thunder has beat (the Jazz and the Pistons, if you somehow inexcusably forgot), the Heat struggle away from home. On the road, Miami is 9-12 compared to 12-6 at home. And the Thunder are pretty stingy at home, winning four of six at the Ford and six of their eight wins have come at home.
Obviously, what OKC needs to do tonight is rebound, take care of the ball and continue to play tough defense. The Thunder have a +73 rebounding margin over the last five and in seven of their eight wins, have outrebounded their opponent. And the Heat aren't really a great rebounding squad, ranking 23rd in the league in boards.
OKC matches the Heat really well, with Desmond Mason getting the unenviable assignment of Dwayne Wade. But other than that, you got to like Russell Westbrook on Mario Chalmers, Kevin Durant on Shawn Marion, Jeff Green on Udonis Haslem and Nenad Krstic/Nick Collison on Joel Anthony.
Let's get No. 9 tonight and move on with our lives. And you look at the upcoming schedule, and there's winnable games against Golden State, the Clippers, the Nets and Memphis coming up. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but if the Thunder continue to play as my dad would say, "Want-to," they can keep winning.