4/4/2012 (NBA) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat - David Banx
David Banx - www.davidbanx.com
Today's Spotlight Game (4/4/2012)
4/4/2012 8:05 PM EST (NBA) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat
A little more than a week ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder had their way with the Miami Heat.
Looking to bounce back from a rare home defeat, the Western Conference-leading Thunder try to snap the Heat's 16-game home winning streak with a second victory in 11 days over one of the East's best teams Wednesday night.
Even with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook saddled with some early foul trouble, Oklahoma City (40-13) shot 52.7 percent and forced 21 Miami turnovers en route to a 103-87 home win March 25. Kevin Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Thunder, who have won two in row against the Heat.
"They beat us in all facets of the game - from the beginning to the end," said Heat star LeBron James, who had 17 points and seven assists in that contest.
The Thunder have won four of five versus Miami (38-14) by an average margin of 10.6 points. Oklahoma City also has won the last two meetings in Miami by a combined 24 points.
Last month's win over the Heat was part of Oklahoma City's six-game winning streak that included a 92-78 blowout of East-leading Chicago on Sunday. However, that winning stretch ended one day later with a 94-88 home loss to Memphis.
Durant scored 21 points and Westbrook added 19 as the Thunder shot 45.2 percent and committed 18 turnovers in their lowest scoring home game of the season.
"We can't get discouraged by this loss," Durant told the Thunder's official website. "Of course we want to win every game, but I think we have to get past it and get ready for the next one."
Durant has averaged 31.5 points on 53.3 percent shooting in the last six games versus Miami. Westbrook, meanwhile, is averaging 24.0 and shooting 51.1 percent in three career road contests against the Heat.
Oklahoma City, which last lost two in a row Jan. 2-3, could catch a break Wednesday if Miami All-Star Dwyane Wade misses a second consecutive contest with a sore left knee. Wade banged his knee during Sunday's 91-72 loss at Boston, and his status for this game remains uncertain.
"We want to be very smart about it right now," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It's nothing serious. It's just a bruise. But he is sore and hopefully he is able to make some progress."
Wade has averaged 27.8 points in the last eight games versus Oklahoma City.
Miami improved to 9-1 without Wade this season after Tuesday's 99-93 win over Philadelphia. In the midst of their longest home winning stretch since an 18-game run Jan. 23-April 5, 2005, the Heat are 22-2 at American Airlines Arena where they last lost 91-82 to Milwaukee on Jan. 22.
James scored 14 straight Miami points in the fourth quarter and finished with a season-high 41 on Tuesday as the Heat rebounded from the defeat at Boston to move within 2 1/2 games of the Bulls in the East.
"It was a grind," Spoelstra said of his team's latest performance. "No question, it was a grind."
An MVP candidate along with Durant, James is averaging 26.7 points for the season but 19.7 on 43.4 percent shooting in three games against the Thunder while a member of the Heat.
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