OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (21-5)
at MIAMI HEAT (18-6)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -3, Total: 204.5
Miami will host the Oklahoma City on Christmas Day in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals.
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. Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin will play in this game after missing the Thunder’s loss to the Timberwolves with a quadriceps injury.
Who will come out on top in this NBA Finals rematch? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts have sizzled since Saturday with a collective 9-2 ATS mark. The experts are 63% ATS (19-11) since Dec. 19 and are 52% ATS (163-151-10) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Gary is 55.4% ATS (31-25-3) Best Bets for the year, while StatFox Scott is at 54.4% ATS (37-31) Best Bets for the season and StatFox Brian is at 51.3% ATS (40-38-3) after going 8-5 ATS (62%) since Dec. 14. For NBA Totals, Scott is 42-25 (63%) for the season.
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. SG Kevin 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.
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.