Monday night features a matchup of struggling teams as the Miami Heat (13-17) take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-18). The Thunder will host this one at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 9:00 pm ET.
After making it to the NBA Finals last season, the Heat have fallen rather flat this season and sit in 10th in the Eastern Conference. They come in on a two-game winning streak, including a 96-94 win over the Lakers on Saturday, a bit of revenge from last season’s finals. They will look to keep it rolling against the Thunder.
At 12-18, the Thunder sit in 13th place in the Western Conference. This will be the second game of a back-to-back after they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-101 on Sunday. That win snapped a three-game losing streak. Hoping to gain some momentum, they will try to win for a second time in as many days on Monday.
The Heat are the favorites despite playing on the road. They are -210 to win while the Thunder’s moneyline sits at +176. The spread features Oklahoma City +5.
By The Numbers
Neither of these teams have been particularly good on the offensive side. In fact, they are both in the bottom five in the league as Oklahoma City ranks 26th, averaging 106.9 points per game, and Miami ranks 27th, averaging 106.8.
Defensively, it is Miami that holds the edge. They rank 7th in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 109.9 points per game. The Thunder rank 20th allowing 113.1 points per game.
Heat Looking To Keep Rolling
Even though they sit in 10th in the East, it is not all doom and gloom yet for the Heat. They sit seven games back of first place but just a game back of eighth. With a lot of the season to go, they are certainly capable of making a run.
To do so, they will need their stars to continue to step up. Right now, Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler lead the way for the Heat. Abedayo is averaging 19.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. For Butler, he is averaging 19.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 1.9 steals.
Others that have been major contributors include Tyler Herro (16.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists), Kendrick Nunn (14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists), and Goran Dragic (14.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists).
Unfortunately, Dragic has been limited to just 17 games due to injuries and is questionable for this one because of an ankle issue.
Oklahoma City Focusing On Growth This Season
After moving on from many of their top stars over the last few years, the Oklahoma City Thunder are certainly in a period of rebuilding right now and are looking for growth out of their youngsters.
One such player who has excelled this season has been Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. On the season, he is averaging 22.3 points on 49.6% shooting. He is also averaging 5.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.
Other contributors for the Thunder include veteran Al Horford (14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists), Luguentz Dort (12.6 points, 3.5 rebounds), and Hamdiou Diallo (12.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists).
Taking The Heat To Win And Cover
The Heat have certainly been less than impressive this season, but there just isn’t a lot to like for the Thunder. Yes, they were able to win big on Sunday, but this will be the second of a back-to-back, and they have been dismal at home (4-9).
The Heat, on the other hand, are 6-4 in their last 10, have won two in a row, and are rested. For my money, I am taking Miami to win and cover.