Oklahoma City at Miami 11-17-09

November 17, 2009


The Miami Heat have been doing their best to take advantage of a home-heavy stretch to start the season, though they recently needed some last-second heroics from Dwayne Wade to escape a loss to one of the league’s worst teams. The Oklahoma City Thunder seem to be proving they no longer belong in that category. The Heat try to close their five-game homestand with a fourth win Tuesday night against the Thunder, who are seeking the franchise’s first three-game road winning streak since March 2007.

Miami (7-2) has played seven of its first nine games at American Airlines Arena, and it’s won five of those as it tries to assert itself as a contender along with Atlanta and Orlando in the Southeast Division. The Heat suffered through their worst defensive game thus far in a 111-104 loss to Cleveland on Thursday, then followed that with their worst offensive performance Saturday against New Jersey. Miami shot a season-low 39.3 percent but was bailed out by Wade’s 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to win 81-80, sending the Nets to 0-10.

Oklahoma City’s first 10 games have been a vast improvement from its first season after relocating from Seattle. The Thunder began last season 1-15 in their new home, and didn’t win their fifth game until Jan. 6. They won only eight road games last season, but already have three in 2009-10 after beating the Los Angelas Clippers and San Antonio during a three-game trip last week. Coach Scott Brooks’ team returned home Sunday, however, and let the Clippers get some revenge. Kevin Durant scored a season-high 40 points, but Los Angeles rallied in the fourth quarter to win 101-93.

The Thunder haven’t won three in a row on the road since March 18-28, 2007, while the franchise was still in Seattle. I like Miami in this game.

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