The OKC Thunder make their way to the East Coast to face the reigning Eastern Conference Champions, the Miami Heat, for the first time in the 2020-21 NBA season. Both teams enter this contest with identical records of two wins and three losses.
In their last outing, the Thunder had one of their better games of the season as they registered a 108-99 win over the Orlando Magic. The driving force behind their win was an all-out team effort that saw six players score in double digits. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and George Hill came out with strong performances, leading their side to their second win of the season.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat lost their previous game to Dallas Mavericks 93-83. The Heat couldn't get the ball to drop in the first two quarters, going into the half with just 31 points. It's no secret that they are having issues with player adjustments and trade rumors surrounding James Harden.
Fixture: OKC Thunder vs Miami Heat - NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Monday, January 4th, 2021 7:30 PM ET. (Tuesday 6:00 AM IST)
Venue: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida
OKC Thunder Preview
While the OKC Thunder have had a shaky start to their new season, they are in no shortage of talented young players raring to make a name for themselves. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, and Darius Bazley have shown potential as a part of the team’s new core.
The OKC Thunder are rebuilding for the future, and like most young teams, they are bound to go on winning and losing streaks.
In this matchup, the Thunder will aim for another all-around team effort against the Heat. Focusing more energy on the defensive end could see them steal the win on the road.
Key Player - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played a pivotal role in their last win against the Orlando Magic. In 35 minutes, the Thunder shooting guard scored 16 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. He showed off his passing ability and closed it out offensively during the final moments of the game.
He will need to dig deep and perform even better to taking a win on the road against an opponent that is equally hungry for their third win of the season in the Miami Heat.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
G George Hill, G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, F Justin Jackson, F Al Horford, C Isiah Roby
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat continued to struggle this season as they lost to the Dallas Mavericks 93-83 in their last outing. Miami missed 14 three-point attempts before Duncan Robinson finally sank one in the third quarter.
The Heat's star player Jimmy Butler returned after his short two-game absence but could only put up two points and three rebounds for the entire game. That said, the Heat will rally around each other and continue to find their footing as they battle against a young OKC Thunder side.
Key Player - Bam Adebayo
As Jimmy Butler is still not back to his hundred percent, the Heat will now look to another big-time star in Bam Adebayo.
Adebayo played well in their last outing, scoring 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists in 33 minutes. He was instrumental in the Heat's NBA Finals run last postseason and will continue to hustle to make his team perform better this season.
Miami Heat Predicted Line-up
G Tyler Herro, G Jimmy Butler, F Andre Iguodala, F Duncan Robinson, C Bam Adebayo
Thunder vs Miami Match Prediction
Both teams are coming in with a mediocre season record so far and will be eager to add another win to their tally. The OKC Thunder will seek to build on their second win of the season by doing more of the same this time around.
On the other hand, the Miami Heat are a sleeping giant who can explode one of these days and start dominating opponents like their previous NBA campaign. Miami Heat are the favorites to win this matchup.
Where to watch Thunder vs Miami?
Local coverage of the game will be available on Fox Sports Sun and Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.Published 04 Jan 2021, 02:09 IST