Possibly the two best teams in the NBA. Definitely the two best players. A re-match of last season’s Finals. What’s not to like about Thursday’s clash of the titans as Miami travel to Oklahoma City?
The Thunder, the wounds of last June still lingering, are out to prove that things might be a little different if they join the Heat in the finals once again.
When they last faced off on Christmas Day, it was Miami who claimed the bragging rights with 103-97 victory and the Heat are once more on fire, winning six in a row with LeBron James scoring at least 30 points in every one of those victories.
It’s helped his team shorten their odds as favourites to retain their title at 2.60, with their rivals second at 3.85. It’s also put James top of the pile in the race for the MVP award at 1.65, with Kevin Durant now at 2.10.
Both are battles that are likely to go the distance again, but Miami showed their offense is good enough to contend with high scoring opponents when they despatched Houston 114-108 last week.
OKC had won four straight until a shock reverse in Utah on Tuesday and while they have a 23-3 home record, the same as their Eastern foes, the Heat’s streak could give them enough momentum to land a priceless blow.
So have a look at Miami to go into the All Star break on a high with James & Co. available at 2.80 for the win, even if it goes to over-time or at +4.5 points on the handicap.
It’s the Battle of Los Angeles tonight as the Lakers ‘host’ the Clippers, as both make their returns to Staples Center after being turfed out for the Grammys.
The Lakers need Kobe Bryant to be back on song after one of the worst showings of his career on Tuesday when he scored just four points against Phoenix.
His side still won, extending their streak to four victories from their last six, but the margin for error is a lot lower against the impressive Clippers who look certainties to break their rivals long monopoly on the Pacific Division title.
The Clips have come out on top in the last two meetings between the sides, including a 107-102 decision last month and although it could be another tight game, they should sink the Lakers.
Bet of the Day: Take Miami to beat Oklahoma City in regulation at 2.90
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