Read a preview and watch a live stream of the Heat vs the Thunder.
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City.
When: Friday February 21, 01:00 GMT.
It’s the Miami Heat vs the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, giving NBA fans another chance to see league superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant go head-to-head.
However, in what is perhaps bigger news for the hosts ahead of the contest, point guard Russell Westbrook went through full practice on Wednesday for the first time since surgery and will likely make his return against the Heat.
“It’s like trading for an All Star at the trade deadline,” said Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer. “We’re looking forward to it. We’re definitely excited for him to get back.”
Westbrook has missed the last 27 games since having the knee procedure, but despite the Thunder impressing without him as Durant has stepped his game up another level, Miami will be fully aware of the test that awaits them as they look to avenge their home loss last month.
Durant is averaging 35.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists during the stretch without his point guard, as the Thunder went on to win 20 of 27 games to emerge as the favourites to top the Western Conference.
They welcome a Miami side that are set to end a six-game road trip after a tiring schedule around the All-Star weekend, and with a 23-3 home record, Durant and Co. will undoubtedly be favourites to emerge victorious again.
The 25-year-old will see this as another opportunity to further cement his place at the front of the MVP award race, but insists that it isn’t a championship game despite the potential that these two outfits could meet in the Finals.
LeBron James scored 34 points last time these two met, and arrives off the back of an impressive season-high 42-point night against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday as he looks to lock in and push the Heat closer to the Indiana Pacers at the top of the Eastern Conference.
It promises to be a thrilling encounter between two of the best teams, and two of the best players, in the NBA, with both arguably seeing as this as an ideal opportunity to inflict a psychological blow ahead a possible meeting in the postseason.