The NBA trade deadline is the subject of all of the talk today, but the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat are two teams almost guaranteed to be quiet. They also happen to be the two teams that will play later tonight and steal the thunder away from any minor deals made.
This is the matchup that the media has been writing into the NBA Finals ever since Kevin Durant went through his historic January run to derail LeBron James’ hopes of hoisting a fifth regular season MVP award. At least that’s the way many people have painted it 55-games into the year.
The Thunder-Heat rematch has been at the top of the wishlist — slightly above a third consecutive postseason of the Indiana Pacers going up against the boys from South Beach. The anticipation is even higher with the supposed return of Russell Westbrook. But regardless of the storylines, Dwyane Wade and company will wind up on the wrong side of another 17-point shellacking if they decide to fall asleep on the others again.
“What you have to understand is that they came into our building and beat us pretty bad,” James said during Tuesday night’s post-game media interview. “And it wasn’t just KD. [Derek] Fisher got it going. Jeremy Lamb got it going. [Serge] Ibaka got it going. You know a lot of other guys got it going too …”
So the key to this game could come down to how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra counters Scott Brooks‘ decision to play Miami at its small-ball finest and sit center Kendrick Perkins on the bench for the better part of the game. Only time will tell if the two teams will adjust, but no matter the result, we should be get ready for the excessive “potential championship clash” commercials.