NBA: Westbrook return to see OKC edge Heat-Thunder clash
LeBron James and Kevin Durant have dominated the pre-match headlines but it is the returning Russell Westbrook who could yet prove the difference as the Heat travel to Oklahoma City.
In a somewhat less-conspicuous battle James Harden and Stephen Curry will attempt to outshoot each other as Houston look for a ninth straight win against the Warriors.
With both of these games being aired live on BT Sport you can watch this over 2/1 double unfold in front of your eyes and see a £10 stake return £32.26.
This game has been billed as a battle between MVP candidates LeBron James and Kevin Durant and rightly so.
The Heat’s (38-14) King James is averaging 26.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.5 assist this season, while the Thunder’s (43-12) KD is flying high with stats of 31.5, 7.8 and 5.5.
James outscored Durant 34-33 in the first match-up this season but OKC rallied from 18 points down to secure a 112-95 win and it is the hosts who look most likely to pick up the victory here.
Miami are 6-1 against the Thunder and 7-3 from 10 trips to the Chesapeake Energy Arena but with his side 5-0 from five at home Scott Brooks will be confident of a win.
However, while James and Durant grab the headlines, the returning Russell Westbrook could prove the difference.
The three-time All Star was on fire on Christmas Day – scoring a triple double over the Knicks – but has missed the last 27 games through injury.
However, Brooks is set to recall the 25-year-old point guard and his high-energy game makes the Thunder slight favourites here.
Houston (37-17) travel to the Oracle Arena in search of a ninth straight win in the league and their solid record against the Warriors (32-22) inspires confidence in thier ability to do just that.
Kevin McHale’s side are 7-1 from eight meetings with the Californians and have won nine of their last 11 visits to Oakland.
The Rockets are 7-1 from eight road trips against all comers and will be confident of inflicting a seventh defeat in 13 home games on their hosts.
King James and KD will battle for supremacy in the earlier tip-off, but James Harden and Stephen Curry will headline this match.
No one in the NBA has made more three-point attempts than Curry (8.2) this season and if he is on point the Rockets could be troubled.
However, Houston are the league’s number one team in terms of points from beyond the arc and with Harden leading their attempts victory looks on the cards for the visitors.
Harden averaged 30 points shooting at 50 per cent in the two games between the two this season and with Curry averaging 21 at 38.5 per cent in those meetings, a three-game Rockets sweep is the advice.