The Oklahoma City Thunder wrap up their longest road trip to date with a matchup against the Miami Heat in South Beach. This road trip got off to a rocky start last week, as the Thunder followed up their big win against the Celtics with a couple of road duds in Atlanta and Brooklyn.
While Monday's win over the Wizards was not perfect, it did stabilize things for Oklahoma City as the offense came out on fire. Defensive effort and energy can be vastly improved; the Thunder are still stabilizing things in D.C.
Oklahoma City sits with a 24-11 record, good enough for the second-best resume in the Western Conference, 7-3 in the last ten games, and 10-6 on the road during the 2023-24 campaign.
The Miami Heat enters this matchup with a 21-15 record, 6-4 in their last ten games, and protecting their home floor to the tune of a 10-6 record. The Heat have announced a multi-year contract extension with bench boss Erik Spoelstra.
OKC Thunder vs Miami Heat Inactives for January 10th, 2024: Short-handed South Beach Squad still scare Thunder fanbase on the road.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will only miss Davis Bertans (Illness), Keyontae Johnson (G League), Ousmane Dieng (G League), and Olivier Sarr (Two-Way) for the finale of this road trip.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat have a plethora of players on their injury report, which includes star Jimmy Butler (toe), Kyle Lowry (hand), and Caleb Martin (ankle). Dru Smith (knee), and Cole Swider (Two-Way) are also out.
Hometown hero Josh Richardson has been upgraded to available against the Thunder; he entered the day questionable with neck spasms.
This leaves Miami's starting lineup as Tyler Herro, Jamie Jaquez Jr, Haywood Highsmith, Nikola Jovic, and Bam Adebayo. With Duncan Robinson off the bench to try to splash threes and the Heat's culture taking overnight in and night out, the Thunder can not sleepwalk through way through Miami.
The Heat also play some of the best zone defense in the NBA historically, which has given trouble to this young Thunder core so far as they are still figuring out life in the NBA.
Bam Adebayo and Chet Holmgren matching up down low might be the biggest swing matchup of this contest. If the rookie can defend the All-Star big man, and the Thunder continue to light the offensive fireworks they started in D.C. OKC could be in good shape.