Dragic, Wade lead Heat past Westbrook-less Thunder, 116-107

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Thunder have been floundering without their celebrity point shield, and the Miami Heat — like Oklahoma City trying to enhance their playoff position — took advantage. Goran Dragic had 26 points, and eleven assists, and Dwyane Wade delivered 25 points inside the Heat’s 116-107 win Monday night over the Thunder, who played without the suspended Russell Westbrook. Kelly Olynyk provided 18 points and nine rebounds for Miami, which moved within one sport of seventh-vicinity Brooklyn within the Eastern Conference. The Heat snapped a six-game dropping streak against Oklahoma City, which now has lost nine of its last 13 video games to fall to sixth within the Western Conference. “We placed our song shoes on, placed all our pads on and went accessible ready for a hard basketball sport that has a playoff kind of sense to it,” said Wade, who played 33 minutes. Paul George scored 31 points with nine rebounds, and Jerami Grant had 27 points and ten rebounds for Oklahoma City. Dennis Schroder, who started in Westbrook’s place, scored 20 points. Steven Adams had 10 points, and 12 rebounds, however, became restricted through the foul problem to 25 mins. Westbrook picked up his NBA-main 16th technical foul in a loss to Golden State on Saturday, earning an automatic one-sport suspension at a pivotal time for his group. He turned into now not with the crew on Monday and as a result not internal Chesapeake Energy Arena to watch the Thunder warfare, taking pictures forty-three .7 percent and committing 19 turnovers.

Without Schroder walking the second one unit, Oklahoma City’s bench lacked scoring punch, and it showed, as Miami’s reserves outscored the Thunder’s 67-10. Dragic and Wade each got here off the bench for the Heat, and reserve James Johnson had 14 points. “The truth is, we are bringing some firepower off the bench,” Heat teach Erik Spoelstra said. “Our starters have been splendid. However, it is now not going to work in this league all the time. You’re not always going for you to get off to the starts which you want. We’re bringing a Hall of Famer off the bench, an All-Star. … It’s now not like we’re cringing while we visit the bench. It takes a collective effort.” The first 1/2 featured wild swings. The Thunder led thirteen-0 after the Heat neglected their first eight photographs, but a 17-0 run using Miami’s reserves put the Heat in advance earlier than the stop of the primary area. The Heat led 41-29 with 8:12 left in the 2nd quarter. However, Oklahoma City pulled inside fifty eight-fifty five by using halftime. Miami rebuilt its cause 15 points within the 1/3 sector. A dunk through Grant with eleven:02 left were given the Thunder within 86-seventy nine earlier than a fifteen-3 run through the Heat ended all doubt. A 3-pointer with the aid of Josh Richardson — who’s from the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond — put Miami up one zero one-82 with 7:29 left. “They hit some hard shots,” Schroder said. “We compelled them to shoot non-paint twos, and D-Wade and Dragic did an extraordinary task tonight. Credit to them. “We’ve just got to hold operating every sport, try to get better as a crew and play collectively. Especially during difficult stretches like we’re going through now, we’ve got to stay together as a group.” ENJOYING THE DRAMA Spoelstra acknowledges the Heat’s time table to close the season is tough but says his team is “embracing the opposition.” “We all feel alive in there,” he said. “It’s no longer simply due to the wins, due to the effects, the ache of a loss and the celebration of having the process carried out in a difficult vicinity. We recognize, even without Westbrook — which is a great distinction, allow’s be honest about that — however, you still have to take care of business in an area where they don’t lose very frequently. You have to play well, and we had been able to do this.” TIP-INS Heat: Justice Winslow ignored his 2nd instantly recreation with a proper thigh bruise suffered Friday against Milwaukee, while Rodney McGruder sat out with left knee soreness. … Former Thunder participant Dion Waiters received louder-than-traditional applause as beginning lineups were added. However, Wade received a status ovation when he entered 4 mins into the sport. … Wade’s 674 career points vs. The Thunder is his 2d-maximum general against a Western Conference foe, at the back of most effective Portland (699). Thunder: Westbrook ought to earn every other one-sport suspension for every two technical fouls the relaxation of the healthy season. He’s now ignored nine games this season because of injury or suspension. … Backup C Nerlens Noel didn’t play because of a left quad contusion. … Markieff Morris picked up a technical foul with 1: forty left within the 1/3 sector.

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