Pro Hoops on Christmas Day and we will see the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to the East Coast to take on the Miami Heat. The game is scheduled for a 3:00 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised live on ABC. Currently the odds for the game have Miami favored by 2.5 points while the total sits at 205. Check out Sportsbook Spy to see who the Public is taking on all of today's games.
Free Analysis: The Heat and Thunder have both gotten off to great starts in this NBA season, but now they face off against each other. Last year, the Heat beat the Thunder in the Finals and they did so while dropping Game 1, but winning four straight to end it in Game 5.
The Thunder are coming off a 99-93 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves that snapped their 12-game winning streak. Oklahoma City is now 21-5 to start the 2012-2013 season. SF Kevin Durant has stepped up his game in the increased role he was given when the Thunder traded James Harden right before the season began. Over the past five games, Durant is averaging 31.8 PPG, 3.8 APG and 8.0 RPG. Durant also turned in a 41-point performance against Atlanta on Dec. 19. He has been unstoppable, and a lot of that has to do with great point guard play from Russell Westbrook (8.8 APG), who is averaging 10.2 APG over the past five games. These numbers are way up from Westbrook’s career average of 6.9 APG. Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin will play in this game after missing the Thunder’s loss to the Timberwolves with a quadriceps injury. Martin has been very good for the Thunder as he is a deadly catch-and-shoot player, tied for sixth in the NBA at 46% 3-pt FG.
Miami brings a four-game winning streak into the Christmas Day tilt, a run in which the Heat have been dominant on both ends of the floor. The club has averaged 105 points during the streak while allowing just 87 per contest. Many people have panicked about the start to the season for the Heat, but the reality is that they’re 18-6 and the top seed in the Eastern Conference early on. SF LeBron James is playing like an MVP yet again for Miami, averaging 25.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 6.8 APG. James is shooting an incredibly efficient 54.2% from the field, and by far a career high of 44.2% from three. PF Chris Bosh has been the Heat’s second option all season and he has performed well, averaging 18.0 PPG and 7.9 RPG to go along with 1.3 BPG on the season. SG Dwyane Wade has also come on strong for Miami lately, averaging 18.2 PPG, 5.6 APG and 4.4 RPG in only 28.4 MPG over the past five games. The Heat are the only team in the league to have three players averaging 18 points per game or more - James (25.4), Dwyane Wade (19.7) and Chris Bosh (18).
Free Pick: I like the Over in this one. The Miami heat have played solid defense of late, but this will be by far the best offense that have faced of late. The Thunder come in averaging 105 ppg overall and 100.9 ppg on the road. They are also one of the best shooting teams in the league, hitting 48.1% of their shots. The Miami Heat have been known to score a point or two as well, as they come in averaging 103.5 ppg overall, including a very nice 106.7 ppg at home. The Heat shoot a blistering 51.1%, including an impressive 43.3% from long range at home. Miami is 3rd in the league in points per possessiion, while the Thunder are 1st in that department. Both teams have been solid defensively. but in an uptempo game, in a game where both teams will look to put on a good showe for the X-Mas audience, I will look for around 210 points in this one.
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