NBA Christmas Day games have a special feel to them. They bring excitement and joy to fans and recently a rematch between the two Finals teams from last season.
Both teams have not missed a beat since last season. The Heat are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference and have regained most of their defensive intensity. The Thunder are currently in first place in the Western Conference and have been on a roll in December winning 12 games in a row before losing on the road in their last game.
Both teams also come into the game today slightly different from last season. Miami added to their perimeter arsenal with the signings of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis and shifted Chris Bosh to the center position on a permanent basis. Oklahoma City made a big shake up before the start of the season by trading James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin and have been able to not have their chemistry be majorly affected.
Even with the changes to both teams, one aspect has not changed. The biggest and most important match up today is between the best players of each team, Miami’s LeBron James and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. Both players have improved from last season with James having a better perimeter shot and Durant being a better defender. The game today will be a measuring stick for both players as they might see each other again in June.
The NBA gave the fans a great present today, a rematch of what could be next great Finals player and team rivalries.