Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Danny

Thunder at HEAT Official Game Thread and Preview

429 posts in this topic

670_heatthunderpre_121225.jpg

(Photo Credit: Nathaniel Butler)

The Miami HEAT host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas Day. Both teams sit atop their respective conferences. The HEAT defeated the Thunder 4-1 in last season's NBA Finals. Tip off is set for 5:50 PM.

1. It’s the big revenge game for Oklahoma City. Whatever the result, will it have any meaning?

Couper Moorhead: This is a storyline game through and through, and when these games come around the results are usually overstated for about 48 hours until we all move on to the next big game and everyone forgets how much the last one meant. It’s nice that both teams will be healthy and rested coming into Christmas Day, but even a 30-point win isn’t going to tell us that one team is definitely better than the other. The things to keep an eye on are the little things, how different lineups interact with one another, how certain big men cover the perimeter and how easily either team is able to get into their transition game off misses.

Danny Martinez: It’s such a bummer to answer this question the same way every time, but no. The result will not have any significant meaning. It’s a fun measuring stick as the Thunder are playing what might be the best basketball in the NBA, but not much more. Rotations and playbooks will change significantly before any potential Finals matchup. Just enjoy the matchup for what it is. It should be really, really fun.

2. How has Kevin Martin changed their second unit in place of James Harden?

Couper: Martin has been everything Oklahoma City would want – as opposed to the version of himself a year ago – shooting well from the perimeter, making defenses react with off-the-ball movement and acquitting himself well enough on the defensive end so as not to be a major negative. But Martin was never going to be able to stabilize second-units with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook the way Harden could, picking and rolling his way to the rim. Durant and Westbrook spend a little more time apart now, each sharing time with Martin once the starting lineup is broken up, and with the ball in their hands more almost every lineup has had a positive efficiency differential.

Danny: Kevin Martin is not the playmaker that James Harden is. He can’t run devastating pick-and-rolls all night with Nick Collison or find Kevin Durant open for spot up threes. But Martin does provide enough shooting that the Thunder’s offense hasn’t missed a beat. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the postseason when teams scheme for Durant and Westbrook. If Martin can’t create like Harden could, someone else will have to step up.

3. Is Kevin Durant going to spend much time at power forward?

Couper: Scott Brooks doesn’t make Durant play a bit of four every game, but we do have more than 100 minutes of evidence so far, and whenever Durant plays next to Serge Ibaka or Nick Collison in the frontcourt the Thunder destroy their opponents for five-minute stretches. Kendrick Perkins hasn’t hurt the offense this year as much as last, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll be on the court much in the fourth quarter if the game is close, with Brooks opting to slide Durant up a position and get Thabo Sefolosha and Kevin Martin on the court at the same time.

Danny: “Much” is open to interpretation. Against the HEAT, Brooks can play Durant at the four as much as he wants. Those lineups are devastating offensively and they allow the Thunder to get their best players on the floor. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka comprise a potent quintet. Durant’s continually improving defense and post game make it possible with him at the four. I hope we get a few minutes to see what happens when both the HEAT and Thunder are “small.” I’m guessing there will be a lot of points scored.

4. Will each coach throw out the kitchen sink in order to win this game?

Couper: I highly doubt it. Erik Spoelstra doesn’t hold back as much as he used to, as far as play-calling goes, but there’s no reason to unveil a new defensive strategy or rotation tendencies four months before the playoffs start. These teams know one another well enough, and each should feel confident enough that what they’ve used up to this point in the season is enough to get a win.

Danny: Nope. There’s really no benefit to it. The teams know each other well, but if there is a small advantage to be had, it’s probably best to keep it filed away until June. We may see a wrinkle here or there, but I doubt we see any significant deviations from the status quo.

5. It’s never one thing, but if you could make a prediction off one statistic, what would it be?

Couper: Three-point shooting. If either team makes more than five threes than the other team, they’ll probably win. Granted, we don’t have an easy statistic to track open three-point shots – if we did, I would be using that – but as well as both teams are expected to execute, there is always a random element to perimeter shooting. And that randomness is often going to be what decides a relatively even matchup.

Danny: Rebounds! I’m kidding, of course. Couper’s hit the nail on the head. Three-point shooting is a big deal for the HEAT. I’m of the belief that pure attempts can be more significant than percentage made. When the HEAT are letting it fly, it’s usually based off of good offense. If we see the HEAT shoot lots of spot up threes, I’d bet things are going well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a must-win,but will be nice to get the win for the fans,and to keep pace with the Knicks,nonetheless.I'm interested in the BOSH/Ibaka match up.I think BOSH needs to win that match up if MIAMI is to have the advantage in this one.Also,if MIAMI can somehow keep Westbrook from penetrating easily,it'd be beneficial for our success.All in all,MIAMI plays MIAMI ball,MIAMI wins...TEAM HEAT since '88!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry it's a must win ! After we get blowouts twice against the Knicks, we dont have a significant win (the Nets LOL)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only significant wins to this HEAT team are the sixteen needed to host the Larry O'Brien. Win or lose, this will be a very fun game. But a statement game or a "needed" win, not really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry it's a must win ! After we get blowouts twice against the Knicks, we dont have a significant win (the Nets LOL)

I feel ya,I'm just trying to keep it in perspective.In all honesty,as a die-hard HEAT fan,I'd like to win all 98 games :D...TEAM HEAT since '88!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only significant wins to this HEAT team are the sixteen needed to host the Larry O'Brien. Win or lose, this will be a very fun game. But a statement game or a "needed" win, not really.

That's my motto,Switchblade, 'Just get those 16 wins in the post season'....TEAM HEAT since '88!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if i understand you correctly, the HEAT can do a 0 win during the regular season ? Oh wait no playoffs then !

Oh wait where is the respect for the season ticket holder / the fans over the world (yes Lucky06 the Third world too) if the Heat dont care about the regular season ?

Why are you wating for that game then ?

Why not playing tonight with Pittman, Lewis, Harrelson if we dont care about that game

Even if i hate Kobe but give to the man credit, he is fighting to win EVERY damn game !

i still remember the 15 wins during the regular season, i dont want to see that again, it was so frustrating !

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if i understand you correctly, the HEAT can do a 0 win during the regular season ? Oh wait no playoffs then !

Oh wait where is the respect for the season ticket holder / the fans over the world (yes Lucky06 the Third world too) if the Heat dont care about the regular season ?

Why are you wating for that game then ?

i still remember the 15 wins during the regular season, i dont want to see that again, it was so frustrating !

I'm going to give you the benefit and assume that you're wise enough to understand my responses,my fellow HEAT fan...TEAM HEAT since '88!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if i hate Kobe but give to the man credit, he is fighting to win EVERY damn game ! To shut you down

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if i understand you correctly, the HEAT can do a 0 win during the regular season ? Oh wait no playoffs then !

Oh wait where is the respect for the season ticket holder / the fans over the world (yes Lucky06 the Third world too) if the Heat dont care about the regular season ?

Why are you wating for that game then ?

Why not playing tonight with Pittman, Lewis, Harrelson if we dont care about that game

Even if i hate Kobe but give to the man credit, he is fighting to win EVERY damn game !

i still remember the 15 wins during the regular season, i dont want to see that again, it was so frustrating !

Please tell me you are not serious. In your attempt to create a stir, your response to my post is a response to what you think I meant rather than what I actually said. I'm sure you don't really think that I am unaware that we need to win games to make the post-season. I remember that 15-win season myself, I was here for every game and understand that we missed the playoffs by far that season.

I also was here when we beat the Boston Celtics int he playoffs, despite going, I believe, 0-4 against them during the regular season. Were all of those rivalrous games probably hyped up at the time as "needed" or "statement" games, such as this one is today? I'd bet my Christmas bonus on it.

My point is - win or lose, the HEAT are more concerned about their progress as a team for the long haul rather than making a statement in the regular season against a team they already made a pretty big statement against by ousting them 4-1 in the NBA Finals. Especially since the Thunder were the "better team" heading into that series.

And where Kobe comes into this discussion is beyond me? I will simply respond to Kobe's "greatness" for his "need" to win every game with the fact that, right now, he actually does need to win every game, with the mighty Lakers being out of the playoff picture in the West if they started tomorrow.

Anything else you'd like me to clear up for you? As aforementioned: this is not a "statement" game. Cut the dramatics and enjoy what will be a very fun game to watch, win or lose. LET'S GO HEAT!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol BOSTON ! Last year we made a lot of statements : The Lakers, The Thunder, the Spurs (With Duncan, parker and co) , the Bulls (with Rose) , The Knicks and this year ??? Oh wait we beat the Nets twice !

Oh yeah we are ready for the playoffs !

Thank you for the fans all over the world and the ticket season holder to follow a boring regular season ! I never said to win all the games but when man we got 2 blowouts against the knicks, it's not because we beat some lottery teams (ok maybe except Atlanta) it means we are ready for the playoffs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're gonna have to play a great game to win. OKC is playing some of the best ball in the league next to the Clippers. Should be exciting, it's always fun to watch the 2 best basketball players in the world go at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're gonna have to play a great game to win. OKC is playing some of the best ball in the league next to the Clippers. Should be exciting, it's always fun to watch the 2 best basketball players in the world go at it.

No people are saying the most important is the 16 games to get the trophy LOL i mean come on !

If you are a player, this is exactly the kind of game, you would love to play, i mean national tv in a christmas day, if you want to write more in your legacy, then you have to win that game ! Specially when you know that you can meet thoses guys in the finals !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No people are saying the most important is the 16 games to get the trophy LOL i mean come on !

If you are a player, this is exactly the kind of game, you would love to play, i mean national tv in a christmas day, if you want to write more in your legacy, then you have to win that game ! Specially when you know that you can meet thoses guys in the finals !

Its just 1 game of 82 but it would be great to get this win. We haven't had a really big win all year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's why i said we must win that game, i know it's one game but this is on christmas day, i still remember the win last year against the Mavericks, it was great ! This year we havent seen the real miami heat !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No people are saying the most important is the 16 games to get the trophy LOL i mean come on !

If you are a player, this is exactly the kind of game, you would love to play, i mean national tv in a christmas day, if you want to write more in your legacy, then you have to win that game ! Specially when you know that you can meet thoses guys in the finals !

You don't get it. Do you really believe a Christmas Day game "writes" more on a players legacy? Seriously, this game doesn't write anymore or less on ones legacy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, great start, but now that run from the thunders. We missed a few open shots, that isn't a problem. But I dont want to see hero ball from James so early in the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did i say it will be written in their legacy ? Have you seen the real Heat this season so far ? I will help you NO ! Oh yes the famous excuse the most important is the playoffs LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus Serge is getting ref treatment like prime Olajuwon.

Lol poor Martin, it's not fair he should have to guard LeBron.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT host the Toronto Raptors Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT defeated the Raptors 104-89 in their last meeting on March 11. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      Highlights:
      March 11-Raptors at HEAT
      November 4-HEAT at Raptors
      Game Notes:
      The HEAT have won three of four and are 35-36 on the year. The Raptors have won four of five and stand at 42-29. Miami is 16-3 at home in 2017. DeMar DeRozan leads Toronto in scoring at 27.0 points per game.  
      Efficiencies (Rank):
      HEAT Offense: 105.1 (15) HEAT Defense: 104.0 (5) Raptors Offense: 109.9 (4) Raptors Defense: 105.3 (12)
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      At 3:30 PM EST, I will ask a trivia question for a pair of tickets to tomorrow night’s game against the Raptors. Please keep in mind that you must be at least 18-years-old in order to qualify and must reside in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe County. Also, you are ineligible if you've already won tickets this calendar month.
      Please only play/answer if you can attend and qualify based on these rules.
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT defeated the Phoenix Suns 112-97 Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Hassan Whiteside led the way for the HEAT with 23 points. Click here for the full recap on HEAT.com. 
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT host the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT fell to the Suns 99-90 in their last meeting on January 3. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      1: What did you take away from Miami’s loss to Portland on Sunday?
      Couper Moorhead: That Damian Lillard is incredible, mostly. Watching Lillard expertly navigate the pick-and-roll, pulling up for effortless split-second threes and then threading passes to a rolling Jusuf Nurkic when Miami attempted to pressure higher on the floor was reminiscent of Steph Curry last season. Of course we can’t make that comparison if the shots aren’t falling as well and Lillard delivered with 9-of-12 from three and 49 points on 21 shots. In short, it was as good an offensive performance as you’ll see all year and a surprisingly energetic defensive one as well, especially considering Portland was on a back-to-back.
      On Miami’s side, their defense wasn’t quite as active as it had been lately and a number of players being in foul trouble didn’t help, but in the bigger picture it was clear there might be a bit of an adjustment period to playing without Dion Waiters. We’ll get to that in a moment.
      Joe Beguiristain: While the HEAT played well offensively for the most part, their defense wasn’t quite up to par. In particular, Damian Lillard had one heck of a performance, as he nearly tallied a career high and finished with 49 points on 14-of-21 shooting. Although the HEAT could have done a better job of defending him in the pick-and-roll, Lillard was in such a zone that it might not have made a difference.
      That said, Miami understands that it needs to get back to its identity and lock-in on the defensive end. From Erik Spoelstra to James Johnson, that message was echoed often after practice on Monday. With Phoenix struggling mightily on the offensive end as of late (especially with a bunch of key contributors out of the lineup), expect the HEAT to apply a lot of pressure from the get-go.  
      2: What changes have there been to the Suns roster lately?
      Couper: There’s been quite a few. Eric Bledsoe has been shut down for the rest of the season, as has Tyson Chandler. Brandon Knight has been experiencing back spasms and, as of now, doesn’t appear to be expected to play. Dragan Bender had ankle surgery in early February and has yet to return. And Devin Booker has also had an ankle injury and its unclear if he’ll be able to play Tuesday night. However you slice it, this isn’t going to be the same Phoenix team that beat Miami back in early January.
      Joe: Coup pretty much hit the nail on the head. The Suns have a multitude of guys either shut down for the season or nursing injuries. As such, Head Coach Earl Watson rolled with a starting unit of Tyler Ulis, Derrick Jones, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss and Alen Len in Phoenix’s last game against the Pistons on March 19.
      Of those players, Warren and Chriss have been mainstays in the starting lineup for most of the year. Not to mention, they’ve also stepped up in the absence of a lot of the Suns’ playmakers. In fact, Warren is averaging 17.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game on 58.3 percent shooting since the All-Star Break. Chriss meanwhile, is posting 12.0 points, 5.3 boards and 1.8 blocks per contest on 52.2 percent shooting over that same timespan. 
      3: Are there any further adjustments you expect Miami to make with Dion Waiters out?
      Couper: Miami still managed to post 110.9 points per 100 possessions against Portland, but there clearly wasn’t as much of a rhythm or flow to the execution as there had been for most of the past two months. Just 43 percent of the HEAT’s baskets were assisted as whenever Goran Dragic was off the floor the offense often became James Johnson attacking from the perimeter and bullying his way to the rim. Johnson did that quite well, shooting 9-of-13, but it’s also the type of offense that becomes easier to defend the more often it’s used and more predictable it becomes. Not only did Miami miss Waiters’ dribble-penetration, spray passing and ability to space the floor off the ball, but he also gives Erik Spoelstra a playmaking option to stagger with Dragic so that, along with Miami’s bench, there are always multiple ballhandlers on the floor. Moving forward, we may see Spoelstra experiment a bit with the rotation to try and keep the ball moving. Or, as is often the case, Miami will simply have to be better on that end and work harder to adhere to their habits without one of the players who makes things work.
      Joe: In addition to getting back to their defensive principles, I expect the HEAT to try and get the ball moving a bit more on offense. After dishing out 29 assists in an offensive explosion against Minnesota, Miami had just 18 against Portland. Keep in mind that when the HEAT tally at least 26 assists, they’re 7-3 this season.
      You know Goran Dragić and James Johnson are going to attack the paint and collapse the defense, but Miami’s other wings also have to do their part and help set up their teammates too. Luckily enough, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson have had their moments over the past few weeks. T. Johnson tallied a career-high nine assists against the Pelicans on March 15, while Richardson has gradually improved since his return to the lineup from a foot injury. We’ll see if both guards can create a little bit more off the dribble to make up for the absence of Dion Waiters. 

      Highlights:
      January 3-HEAT at Suns
      Game Notes:
      The HEAT have won two of three and are 34-36. The Suns have dropped four straight and enter the contest at 22-48. Goran Dragić leads Miami in points (20.3) and assists (6.0) per game. Alex Len leads Phoenix with 1.2 blocks per contest.  
      Efficiencies (Rank):
      HEAT Offense: 105.1 (16) HEAT Defense: 104.3 (6) Suns Offense: 103.8 (23) Suns Defense: 108.8 (26)  
       
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      At 3:45 PM EST, I will ask a trivia question for a pair of tickets to tomorrow night’s game against the Suns. Please keep in mind that you must be at least 18-years-old in order to qualify and must reside in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe County. Also, you are ineligible if you've already won tickets this calendar month.
      Please only play/answer if you can attend and qualify based on these rules.