HEAT Take On Surprising Thunder

Derrick Jones Jr.
Photo Credit: Zach Beeker
by Joe Beguiristain

Fresh off yet another home victory, the HEAT are back on the road where things haven’t been quite as productive.

This time around, Miami will be in a tough environment against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday at 8PM.

But before we get into the Thunder, let’s quickly recap the HEAT’s win over the Spurs on Wednesday: Kendrick Nunn was pretty good.

Seriously, though, Nunn hit his first nine shots and scored a team-high eight points in the fourth en route to a 33-point night. And while Miami wouldn’t have won without him, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragić, Jimmy Butler and Derrick Jones Jr. also made some noise.

In particular, Adebayo logged a game-high seven screen assists for 16 points and a game-high seven assists (tied with DeMar DeRozan), while Jones Jr. held his defensive assignments to just 1-of-8 shooting and tallied two deflections. As a unit, the HEAT limited San Antonio to just 8-of-21 shooting (38.1 percent) in the fourth quarter.

Miami will need to keep up that same defensive intensity against an OKC team that has gone 12-4 over its last 16 outings. During that time span, the Thunder have recorded a 111.9 offensive rating and a 57.3 true shooting percentage, which ranks them in the top half of the league.

Specifically, OKC puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenses at the point of attack and is ranked second with 53.6 drives per game thanks to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul and Dennis Schröder.

That said, we can’t forget about 6-foot-10 sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari, who has averaged 25.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists on 53.6 percent shooting, including an unreal 46.7 percent from deep, over his last four games.

As a team defensively, the Thunder have been stout all season long and really hinder teams from beyond the arc.

We’ll see how it all plays out at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

INJURY/STATUS UPDATE: Tyler Herro (Left Knee Bruise) went through Friday morning's shootaround. Erik Spoelstra said Herro will warm up and see if he can go. Justise Winslow (Lower Back Bone Bruise) will be out for the next two weeks and will be re-evaluated at that time.

Otherwise for Miami, Kyle Alexander (G League - Two-Way), KZ Okpala (G League - On Assignment) and Gabe Vincent (G League - Two-Way) are out.

For OKC, Steven Adams (Right Knee Contusion) and Nerlens Noel (Left Ankle Sprain) are questionable, while Luguentz Dort (G League - Two-Way), Kevin Hervey (G League - Two-Way), Abdel Nader (Left Ankle Sprain) and Andre Roberson (Left Knee Injury Recovery) are out.

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