OKC Thunder host East threat Miami Heat: game preview

OKC Thunder Dennis Schroder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Dennis Schroder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
(David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) /

Heat 3-point beasts:

The Miami Heat have the second-best 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA. They make a total of 12.7 – 3-pointers a game with a 37.8 percent efficiency. So great perimeter defense from the Thunder will be key to winning this game.

Frontcourt injuries:

Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel are expected to be evaluated ahead of the game and if they do not suit up, Mike Muscala and Justin Patton will have to step up to the role.

Muscala can shoot the ball well while Patton provides a forceful presence in the paint. This matchup with the Heat’s Bam Adebayo is going to be huge. A lot of pressure and help on the boards will be key especially with the length that the Heat has.

Limiting Jimmy Buckets:

Jimmy Butler will also pose a challenge with his all-round ability. He is leading the Heat in points (20.5), assists (6.4) and steals (1.9). He is aggressive and will be everywhere on the court, so a key for OKC is to prevent him from scoring and to be ready for his strong defensive efforts.

Thunder Backcourt advantage:

One of the things that may give the OKC Thunder the upper hand is their depth and talent in the point guard position. Not only do they have Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but they also have Dennis Schroder who can put up over 20 points a game off the bench.

Going up against the rookie Nunn, Paul has the edge and is exceptional with his playmaking ability, vision, and leadership. When you add Gilgeous-Alexander, Schroder and not to mention Danilo Gallinari, you have a group of pure scorers who will be hard to stop.

Learn from loss and start strong:

When you’re playing catch-up basketball like the Thunder, it can take a toll not only physically but also mentally. There is no doubt that OKC is relentless but now they are exactly at the halfway point of the season. And if they are to make a playoff run, they’ll need to solve their early struggles. OKC is capable of doing this and who knows they may figure it out against the Miami Heat.