MIAMI HEAT (35-14)
at OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (39-13)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma City -5.5, Total: 205
The Heat are going for their seventh straight victory when they head to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder in another NBA Finals rematch on Thursday night.
The last time these two teams met, the Thunder were overwhelmed by the Heatís intensity on defense and Miami went on to win the game 103-97. Miami is now 7-3 ATS versus Oklahoma City over the past three seasons.
Who will win the NBA Finals rematch? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Best Bets, StatFox Scott is in the midst of a monster run, going 15-2 ATS (88%) since Feb. 3, and improving his record to an impressive 57.4% ATS (85-63-1) for the season. The experts are a collective 57.3% ATS (51-38) in the month of February. StatFox Gary is 70% ATS (7-3) in the past nine days, and 60% ATS (9-6) for the month of February. For NBA Totals, the experts are a strong 44-32-1 (58%) in the past 20 days with Gary at 17-9 (65%) and StatFox Brian going 14-11-1 (56%) since Jan. 25. For the season, Scott is a whopping 57% (75-57) in Totals, while Gary is at 52.3% (68-62-4).
The Heat have won six straight games behind brilliant play from SF LeBron James. He now has six straight games with at least 30 points while shooting 60% or better from the field. Despite Jamesí magical run, SG Dwyane Wade has continued to play his best basketball of the year. Over the past five games, Wade is averaging 25.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.2 SPG, 2.6 SPG and 1.4 BPG. He has been stuffing the stat sheet and scoring at will. His scoring average on the year is now up to 21.1 PPG after spending most of the season in the teens. With these two scoring the ball like they are, it must seem like PF Chris Bosh is the odd man out, but he too is coming off of a monster performance. Bosh went head-to-head with Portland All-Star PF LaMarcus Aldridge in Tuesday's win over the Blazers, but he eventually came out on top in the matchup with 32 points and 11 rebounds on 13-of-16 shooting from the field. The Big 3 is playing like everybody expects them to and itís been very enjoyable to watch.
The Thunder have won four of their past five games, but the most recent outing was a loss to Utah on the road Tuesday. Before that game, Oklahoma City had won and covered in four straight. Over the past five games, SF Kevin Durant hasnít been as aggressive as usual. He is averaging 23.3 PPG in those games, but he is only taking 13.4 shots per game. This is also because of his teamís latest tendency to blow out their opponents. The same goes for PG Russell Westbrook, who is taking only 15.6 shots per game over the past five games, compared to his season average of 18.6 FGA per game. In these five contests, Westbrook has been extremely efficient, averaging 21.8 PPG on 51.3% shooting from the field. Westbrook is a 42.7% shooter on the season, so he has definitely improved his shot selection a bit. The Thunder will need better performances from the rest of their team, however, if they are going to stay atop the Western Conference standings.