When and where: January 17, 2020, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK, 8:00 PM ET
The Miami Heat hope to stay on the winning track in Friday’s road meeting at the Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After picking off the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves, the Thunder ran into a real life bully in the Raptors. They were ultimately defeated despite an impressive offensive effort. Meanwhile, the Heat bounced back from consecutive losses to the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets with a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Road woes continue for the HeatWatching the Heat dispatch of the Spurs didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.
The American Airlines Arena is like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude for them. They are 18-1 on their home floor with their lone loss coming to the Los Angeles Lakers. The real test comes on the road against the Thunder on Friday. Miami is 10-11 in away games these season and coming off consecutive road losses to the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets—two teams with losing records.
The Thunder have a 13-8 record at home with a middle-of-the-road defense. Offense hasn’t been the problem for the Heat this season, and they rank seventh in the league in efficiency. Jimmy Butler has emerged as the fire-starter for a team that is not as one-dimensional as they were a year ago. Rookie Kendrick Nunn continues to play beyond his years as well. He dropped a team-high 33 points against the Spurs on Wednesday.
The road troubles for the Heat stem more on the defensive end of the court. They are allowing 111.0 points per game when playing away from their home building. Granted, Oklahoma City lacks the offensive explosiveness to take advantage of those issues on paper, but the Heat recently gave up 124 points in a loss to a Knicks team with the third-worst offense in the league.
Adams injury a big blow for the ThunderThe Thunder didn’t need to lose another big man, but it’s painfully obvious that needs and wants don’t factor into the equation when it comes to the basketball gods. Steven Adams saw the floor for only seven minutes in Oklahoma City’s 130-121 loss to the Raptors before injuring his knee. The injury has reportedly kept him out of practice and left his availability for Friday’s game in doubt.
That could essentially leave the Thunder without their best interior player. Center Nerlens Noel has also been sidelined with an ankle injury. So the Thunder could be down two enforcers with Bam Adebayo coming to town for a visit.
The Raptors are ranked second in defensive efficiency behind the Milwaukee Bucks. Oklahoma City hasn’t blown anyone away offensively, but they’ve managed to get by with the sudden emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and reliable veteran playmaking from Chris Paul.
Things haven’t gone so well defensively for the Thunder at home as opposed to being on the road. They are allowing 110.0 points per game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena as opposed to 105.6 points on the road. The Raptors have slid to 18th in offense, but that number is sure to rise with them finally competing near full strength.
Justise Winslow has already been ruled out for the game, while rookie Tyler Herro is officially listed as questionable.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Heat are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Heat are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 Friday games.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Thunder are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games playing on 1 days’ rest.
- Thunder are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
- Thunder are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Thunder are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games following an ATS loss.