|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , January 17, 2020
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Attendance: 18,203
After offseason of rumors, Heat & Thunder to finally meet on court
Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder
- The Heat and Thunder split two games last season with each winning on the other's home court. Miami scored 116 points in its win in Oklahoma City in 2018-19 after averaging 83.3 points while going 0-4 there over the previous four seasons.
- The Heat have lost four of their last five road games, allowing an average of 115.4 points in those five contests. Miami is outscoring opponents by 11.3 points per game at home this season but is being outscored by 3.0 points per game on the road -- the difference of 14.3 is the largest in the NBA.
- The Thunder have gone 3-3 since January 6 after winning nine of their previous 10 games. Oklahoma City allowed 106.7 points per game during its 9-1 stretch but has allowed an average of 112.3 points over its last six games.
- Kendrick Nunn scored a game-high 33 points in his team's win over the Spurs on Wednesday, connecting of 5-of-7 three-point attempts. It was his 23rd game with multiple three-pointers this season, third most among rookies behind Cleveland's Darius Garland (26) and teammate Tyler Herro (24).
- Dennis Schroder led OKC with 25 points off the bench in their loss to Toronto on Wednesday, connecting on 5-of-10 threes. He is shooting 34.7 percent from three on 4.8 attempts per game since joining OKC last season after shooting 32.0 percent on 2.8 3PA/game in his first five seasons with Atlanta.
- The Heat are 20-4 when leading after the first quarter this season, tied with the Thunder (15-3) for the second-best win percentage in such games this season (.833). Only the Bucks (26-2, .929) have been better when leading after the opening period.
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In the wake of the Oklahoma City Thunder's trade of Paul George in the offseason, the Thunder and Miami Heat looked like potential trade partners on multiple occasions.
First, Miami was one potential landing spot for Russell Westbrook.
Instead, Oklahoma City wound up trading the superstar point guard to the Houston Rockets for a package that included veteran Chris Paul.
Then the Heat made the most sense as a trade partner when the Thunder reportedly wanted to trade Paul.
Nothing ever materialized on that end, however, and now Paul will be playing for Oklahoma City when the Thunder host the Heat on Friday night.
Paul has been a strong presence for the Thunder, averaging 16.5 points and 6.5 assists. His 2.1 turnovers per game currently matches his career-low mark set eight seasons ago.
Nonetheless, the Thunder have dropped two of their last three.
In both losses -- first to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and then Wednesday to Toronto -- Oklahoma City fell behind big early before scraping its way back into the game before ultimately falling short.
"We can't wait that long to impose our will," Paul told reporters recently.
The Thunder have made several big comebacks this season but avoiding flat starts is now a priority for all of Billy Donovan's team.
"We know if there's time on the clock, there's nothing us as a group is not capable of," guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It's been a little bit of us in the past to get down a little bit -- a lot actually -- to start games. We've just got to figure out a way to not let that happen, and put together a full four quarters."
While the Heat are 28-12 and second in the Eastern Conference, they have struggled away from home.
The Heat are just 10-11 on the road, scoring 7.5 points per game fewer away from AmericanAirlines Arena.
"We definitely have to carry this momentum into the road games," center Bam Adebayo told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "We're going into other people's gyms, and we can't have the same game that we play at home. We've got to have a better game, because we're away.
"Rims look different, atmosphere is different, so just got to go out there and bring more of an edge on the road than we have recently."
The meeting will be the first of the season between the teams. Oklahoma City and Miami split their two games last season.
Oklahoma City could be without both of its primary big men.
Starting center Steven Adams suffered a right knee contusion in Wednesday's loss and will be re-evaluated before the game to determine his status.
Adams' backup, Nerlens Noel, has missed the last six games with a left ankle sprain.
The Heat could be without rookie guard Tyler Herro, who suffered a left knee bruise in Tuesday's practice and missed Wednesday's game.
Heat forward Justise Winslow's status is also unclear. Winslow returned Jan. 8 after missing 15 games with a bone bruise in his back but has missed the last three games with recurrent back issues.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 16, 2020