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Heat, Thunder clash on TNT

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Sportsbook.ag NBA Game of the Day
 
MIAMI HEAT (35-14) at OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (39-13)
 
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Oklahoma City -5 & 205

The Heat are going for their seventh straight victory when they head to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder in another NBA Finals rematch on Thursday night.

The last time these two teams met, the Thunder were overwhelmed by the Heat’s intensity on defense and Miami went on to win the game 103-97. Miami is now 7-3 ATS versus Oklahoma City over the past three seasons. This series dominance should continue again on Thursday night as the Heat are the pick to win this one. The Thunder are forced to play small when they go against Miami, which makes C Kendrick Perkins clog up too much space on the court. Miami gets up and down the court too fast and when Perkins is off the floor, PF Serge Ibaka must guard Heat PF Chris Bosh, which leaves the lane open for SF LeBron James.

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It’s also been extremely tough to beat the Heat as they’ve now won six straight while James stretches the record he already set of games in a row shooting 60% or better from the field with 30+ points. And NBA road teams are 23-7 ATS (77%) this season when coming off back-to-back, double-digit victories at home, and the Heat are 7-0 ATS this season on the road when the total is at least 200.

The Heat have won six straight games behind brilliant play from SF LeBron James. He now has six straight games with at least 30 points while shooting 60% or better from the field. Despite James’ magical run, SG Dwyane Wade has continued to play his best basketball of the year.

Over the past five games, Wade is averaging 25.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.2 SPG, 2.6 SPG and 1.4 BPG. He has been stuffing the stat sheet and scoring at will. His scoring average on the year is now up to 21.1 PPG after spending most of the season in the teens. With these two scoring the ball like they are, it must seem like PF Chris Bosh is the odd man out, but he too is coming off of a monster performance. Bosh went head-to-head with Portland All-Star PF LaMarcus Aldridge in Tuesday's win over the Blazers, but he eventually came out on top in the matchup with 32 points and 11 rebounds on 13-of-16 shooting from the field. The Big 3 is playing like everybody expects them to and it’s been very enjoyable to watch.

The Thunder have won four of their past five games, but the most recent outing was a loss to Utah on the road Tuesday. Before that game, Oklahoma City had won and covered in four straight. Over the past five games, SF Kevin Durant hasn’t been as aggressive as usual. He is averaging 23.3 PPG in those games, but he is only taking 13.4 shots per game. This is also because of his team’s latest tendency to blow out their opponents.

The same goes for PG Russell Westbrook, who is taking only 15.6 shots per game over the past five games, compared to his season average of 18.6 FGA per game. In these five contests, Westbrook has been extremely efficient, averaging 21.8 PPG on 51.3% shooting from the field. Westbrook is a 42.7% shooter on the season, so he has definitely improved his shot selection a bit. The Thunder will need better performances from the rest of their team, however, if they are going to stay atop the Western Conference standings.

  
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