GAME PREVIEW: Miami Heat to go up against the young core of the OKC Thunder

The OKC young core of Shai/Chet/Jalen/Dort will go head to head with Miami’s young core of Bam/Herro/Jaquez/Jovic

Game story:

The 21-15 Miami Heat are welcoming the rising OKC Thunder to South Beach tonight. The Thunder are a top team in the West and sport a 24-11 record.

OKC is coming off a 136-128 win against the Washington Wizards; a game that featured their star duo Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren each drop 30+ points.

The Heat on the other hand are coming off a win of their own against the Houston Rockets.

In that game it was an elite team effort from the entire supporting cast and led by Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo.

Herro dropped a team high 28 points on 50% shooting as Adebayo had a 22 point double double.

A notable thing to acknowledge regarding the Heat as of late is the performances off the bench from their Veteran Kevin Love.

Love, who Miami snagged from the Cleveland Cavaliers last season for essentially nothing, has been more than impressive and consistent.

In the last 15 games, Love has averages of:

– 12.5 PPG
– 7.3 RPG
– 50% FG
– 37% 3P
– 74% FT
– +51 (!!)
– 20.6 MINS

Outside of him, rookie and sophomore Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic have been getting opportunities and showcasing their talents.

Jaquez Jr. has pretty much been a regular in the Heat rotation all season and has proved to be an absolute steal in last year’s NBA draft.

Jovic has just more recently been getting extended playing time with Jimmy Butler being sidelined and has showed super encouraging signs.

Niko displayed so much versatility in the last win against Houston and put his fingerprints all over the game. Without even scoring much and struggling to shoot, Jovic may have very much put in his best outing of the season.

He was playmaking, rebounding, blocking, stealing… there was even a full 3 minute stretch in the second half of the game where Jovic made every single play for both teams.

Tonight, he will continue to get some more run in with Butler, Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry all listed as unavailable.

In the last few seasons, the matchups between the Heat and Thunder have been electric. The two games last season alone were nail biters that went down to the final shot.

Tyler Herro hit a game winning pull up jump shot in the one game and Jimmy Butler came through with a tough and one finish in the final minute to secure the win in the second game.

With the Thunder still very much improving with their young core each season, fans shouldn’t expect anything less than another thrilling game this evening.

Tip off is set for 7:30 PM ET on Bally Sports Florida.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • Kyle Lowry (hand) — Doubtful
  • Caleb Martin (ankle) — Doubtful
  • Jimmy Butler (toe) — OUT
  • Cole Swider (g league) — OUT
  • Dru Smith (knee) — OUT

OKC Thunder:

  • Davis Bertans (illness) — Questionable
  • Keyontae Johnson (g league) — OUT
  • Ousmane Dieng (g league) — OUT

Projected Starting 5 (subject to change):

Miami Heat:

  • RJ Hampton, G
  • Tyler Herro, G
  • Jaime Jaquez Jr, F
  • Nikola Jovic, F
  • Bam Adebayo, C

OKC Thunder:

  • Josh Giddey, G
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G
  • Luguentz Dort, F
  • Jalen Williams, F
  • Chet Holmgren, C

Betting Lines:

  • Check the current odds out at FanDuel!

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 7:30 PM EST
  • TV: Bally Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty)
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!


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This will be a stern test. And once again, we do battle without some core players. This team we are playing is for real.


seriously, if that injury report swapped out Cole Swider for Bam, it would be our starting lineup after the Herro injury

heat for life

so are the panthers


Barring injuries, they are one of about 8 teams that are legit Stanley Cup contenders. The only other South Florida sports team we could occasionally sat that about in the last two decades, out of four of them, and Canes football, was the Heat. So, it feels great to watch the Panthers, as we really haven’t experienced too much winning down here lately.


I think we should also acknowledge the “young core” of the Miami Heat. With Kyle Lowry injured, Bam Adabayo is now the oldest player in the starting lineup, at the age of 26. Tyler is 23, Jamie and RJ are 22, and Jovic is 20. The Heat bench is loaded with vets, like K-Love, Duncan, and J-Rich. But for now, the Heat only have 1 starter that is old enough to rent a car

Last edited 1 month ago by oregoner

Great post.

I cant wait on this game. Our young studs against arguably the best young core in the league.


Battle of the young studs I can dig it. I was just on there blog, and they say that we’ve had there number for awhile, so I hope it continues. Also another note, they talked about potentially trading him. Would you or anyone else ,want to trade for him, a tall pg/ point forward? Even with his recent history?


I would be happy to add Giddy, but I have a soft spot in my heart for big guys that can pass and can’t shoot. I was hoping the Heat would add Ricky Rubio until the day he retired. Also not sure what they Heat would have to trade to make it happen, maybe something like Caleb Martin and a draft pick?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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