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It’s possible that we will get a preview of the NBA Finals later this year in the matchup between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night. After all, if they did meet in the Finals it would be the second time in three years.
The Heat and Thunder are positioning themselves well in their respective conferences to make another run at a championship. For Miami, they are looking for a three-peat and to establish what would really be a dynasty in the NBA. For Oklahoma City, it’s about redemption of sorts.
Oklahoma City won the first matchup earlier this year, but they know that the postseason is when it truly counts. Playing well against Miami is certainly a top priority. Of course, the Thunder need to get healthy and get guard Russell Westbrook back. As it stands, Kevin Durant is shouldering much of the burden, but has proved to be up to the challenge.
Durant is leading the way on NBA MVP betting lines this season, ahead of the player who he will go head-to-head with Thursday night in LeBron James. Durant is the top scorer in the NBA and is playing at a level that has even outdone his own expectations. The big question is whether or not he will be able to sustain that throughout a playoff run. Many believe that getting Westbrook back will be a critical piece to the puzzle.
As for this game, the Thunder are three-point home favorites over the Heat. Miami has won three-straight games and four of five on their long road trip out west. This is the final game of the road trip, with four-straight home matchups to close out February and open up March.
The big win for the Heat was back on February 12 against Golden State. That was a 111-110 victory over a team that many are high on for the postseason.
Oklahoma City has won five of its last six games, the latest of which was a win over the Lakers on February 13.
Coming out of the All Star break will be a pivotal time for both of these teams. The chance to seize home court advantage in the postseason is there for the taking with a strong showing in the second half.
Having home court is important to both of these teams, though of the two the Thunder might need it more. This is simply based on the experience factor, and the fact the Heat have won two-straight championships.
For more matchup info and great betting tools on this game, LatestBettingOdds.com has provided it all below thanks to Bovada.