Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will rejoin the OKC lineup for tonight’s Miami Heat game after missing the past 27 games due to injury. Kevin Durant first predicted Westbrook’s return for tonight’s OKC vs Miami Heat game during the All-Star break, though it was treated as hype at the time. But with KD on an MVP streak and the Thunder looking to show Miami and LeBron James what they’re in for if they meet again in the NBA Finals, this game has “statement” written all over it. Tonight’s Heat vs. Thunder game is live on TNT, or you can watch Miami Heat vs Oklahoma City Thunder online free streaming live using a few different services.
“Is it a statement game?” James asked rhetorically in an NBA.com interview. “It’s not a statement…. We don’t need to make a statement. We want to continue to play at a high level like we have been playing.”
The thing is, nobody thought tonight’s OKC Thunder game would be a statement from Miami or LeBron. If there’s a statement, it’s all about Westbrook and the Thunder. And, in turn, what the point guard’s return may say to the rest of the NBA watching (fearing?) to see what damage Durant and Westbrook can do when they’re reunited on the basketball court.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have won 15 of their past 17 games, with Durant going on an absolute tear during that stretch. The Thunder (43-12) now lead the Western Conference, in fact. Durant’s scoring spree is a large reason that while the Thunder are 22-8 with Westbrook in the lineup this season, they’ve also managed a 20-7 record without him. Durant today told The Oklahoman that Westbrook’s return shouldn’t disturb the team’s rhythm as you watch Miami Heat vs Oklahoma City Thunder online free streaming live or on TNT.
“He’s a big part of what we do,” Durant said. “He’s in that matchup. So it’s not like he’s filling in for somebody and we have to figure out how we’re going to plug him in and play. He’s a part of the matchup. He’s a huge piece. So we’re going to let him do what he do. He’s going to create for himself and others and he’s going to play his tail off…We’re looking forward to having him.”
Tonight’s TNT Thursday night game against the Miami Heat is the Thunder’s first game since the All-Star break. That’s given Thunder Coach Scott Brooks plenty of time to incorporate Westbrook back into the lineup, and it means OKC will also be taking on LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade with fresh legs.
It was just three weeks ago that Durant and the Thunder, minus Westbrook, torched the Heat on their turf. Westbrook last played on Christmas Day, when he dropped a triple-double on the New York Knicks. Two days later, he underwent a third surgery on his right knee due to recurring swelling.
Westbrook is averaging 21.3 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game in 25 games this season.
Tonight’s TNT Thursday night game has tipoff scheduled for 8pm EST / 5pm PST live on TNT. If TNT is part of your satellite or cable package, check your local listings for the proper channel number and tune-in to see watch Heat vs Thunder in HD on your TV. If you’re not near the TV, TNT allows subscribers to watch NBA online free live streaming games through their TNT Overtime service. You can also download the TNT watch live app to watch Miami Heat vs Oklahoma City Thunder online free streaming live on a tablet or mobile device, or just head to the TNT website to watch the TNT Thursday night game between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.