oklahoma city thunder vs miami heat prediction and preview

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NBA oklahoma city thunder vs miami heat prediction and preview


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The Miami Heat concludes a seven-game road trip on Monday with a visit to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Miami is 3-3 on its road trip thus far and has won each of its last two including a 96-94 victory on Saturday night over the Los Angeles Lakers. Kendrick Nunn was the leading scorer for Miami with 27 points while Jimmy Butler scored 24. The Heat are in second place in the Southeast division with a record of 13-17 trailing the Charlotte Hornets by 1 ½ games.

Oklahoma City will conclude a back to back on Monday when hosting the Miami Heat after playing on the road Sunday evening against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Oklahoma City is 11-18 following a 98-85 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night. Monday's game with Miami will be Oklahoma City's third game in four days with two on the road. The Thunder are far back in the Northwest standings trailing first place Utah by 12 ½ games. Oklahoma City has lost each of its last three and six of the last seven.


Miami fighting through injuries

The Miami Heat have won two straight with victories over the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers but have struggled to fight through injuries. Miami's Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard and Chris Silva are all out indefinitely while Avery Bradley is due back in early March. Nevertheless, Miami is scoring 106.8 points per game led by Bam Adebayo with an average of 19.6 points per game and Jimmy Butler with an average of 19.3 points per game. Butler is the leader in assists with an average of 7.6 dishes per contest. Miami as a team is averaging 25.8 assists but too many turnovers with a rate of 15.4 per game giving Miami an assist-to-turnover ratio of only 1.7.


Adebayo is the king of the boards for Miami with a team-high 9.4 rebounds per game. The Heat are averaging 42.6 rebounds per game with 35.3 on the defensive boards and 7.2 off the offensive glass. Miami's defense is allowing an average of 109.9 points per game which is 9th in the NBA and the Heat are averaging 6.9 steals and 3.8 blocked shots per game. Kendrick Nunn is the leader in steals with an average of 1.1 per game and Adebayo is the leader in blocked shots with an average of 1.0 per game.


Oklahoma City giving up too much on defense

On Monday, Oklahoma City will be playing its second game in as many days and its third game in the last four days. The Thunder will be a step slow when facing Miami and the defense will suffer. Oklahoma City’s defense is allowing an average of 113.1 points per game which is 20th in the NBA and opponents are shooting an average of 46.1%. The Thunder are last in the NBA in rebounds allowed at a rate of 48.8 per game, while the Thunder average only 44.9 rebounds per game. Oklahoma City grabs 37.1 boards off the defensive glass and 7.8 rebounds off the offensive boards per game. The leading rebounder is Darius Bazley with an average of 7.3 per contest. Oklahoma City is averaging 7.1 steals and 4.1 blocked shots per game with Hamidou Diallo the leader in steals with an average of 1.0 per game and Bazley the swat leader with an average of 0.7 blocked shots per game.


On offense, the Thunder are averaging 106.9 points per game led in scoring by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with an average of 22.3 points per game. The Thunder shooting guard is also leading the team in assists with an average of 6.4 dishes per game. Oklahoma City averages 23.4 assists per game and 13.6 turnovers per contest to give the Thunder 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio. Oklahoma City is shooting below par at 44.7% overall and 34.2% from downtown.

Injury Report: George Hill is out until early March, while Trevor Ariza is out indefinitely