The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

December 25, 2012

Thunder ready for Christmas rematch with Heat

NORMAN — Almost every player in the NBA grew up watching epic NBA Christmas Day battles. The Lakers, Celtics, Knicks and ‘76ers helped the league grow by entertaining fans on what has become basketball’s marquee day.

But as old rivalries have faded into the background, a new generation of players and teams are getting their chance to prove themselves on the regular season’s most important day. That includes Oklahoma City, which makes its third straight Dec. 25 appearance when it travels to Miami for a 4:30 p.m. tip against the Heat this afternoon.

“It’s a blessing and an honor to play on Christmas,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. “That’s what I think I’m looking at more; having the opportunity to play on Christmas.

“Playing against Miami, one of the best teams in the league, is a good test for us. We’re looking forward to going down there and having fun, first off, and playing our game.”

The Thunder enter the contest with the best record in the league at 21-5. However, they’re coming off a loss to Minnesota on Friday that ended a 12-game winning streak.

Today’s contest will be the first time the Heat and Thunder have met since Game 5 of the finals, when Miami won its first NBA championship of its LeBron era. Arguably, both squads have changed considerably since.

“We’re playing a little different style,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “They’re still one of the best teams in basketball. They have a great home record. We’re going to have to play well to come out with a victory.”

Despite that, Oklahoma City has been on a mission through the first third of the season. The Thunder lead the league in scoring and margin of victory. They have quickly come to terms with playing without James Harden and have seamlessly transitioned to relying on Kevin Martin coming off the bench.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Tang making a splash on state level

    The Sooner Swim Club has produced a long string of great athletes in Norman. Norman North has won back-to-back state championships and senior Justin Wu owns several state records and last week qualified for the U.S. National swim meet. The ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • OSSAA releases enrollment figures

    The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association released the preliminary 2014-15 ADM for classification purposes Friday and not much has changed for many of the area schools. Moore (2,265), Norman North (2,180), Westmoore (2,090), ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Swim regionals 1 Norman North’s Justin Wu qualifies for U.S. national

    Justin Wu made history last week when he qualified for the U.S. national swim meet. A senior at Norman North, Wu already owned several state records when he outpaced a field of college swimmers in the event....

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woodard joins successful soccer team in Stillwater

    Haley Woodard has been one of the preeminent multi-sport stars in the state for several years. The Norman North senior is a state champion in track and soccer and has been an integral part of a basketball team that’s been to back-to-back ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Posturing, predictions fly as conference plans for new season

    There’s plenty to enjoy about the Southeastern Conference’s annual cattle call in Hoover, Ala., where media of every description join players and coaches from each of the league’s 14 football teams to discuss the coming season. The best ...

    July 18, 2014

  • Roberson2 66ers heading south

    The last five years, the Oklahoma City Thunder have had an unsung hero in their rise to the top of the NBA. Along with the talents of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the franchise has had the services of one of the best developmental ...

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NHS at Midwest City 6 Point guard taking on a new role in Tigers’ summer basketball league

    It’s a summer of change for Norman High basketball....

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • OU dominates in preseason, receiving 47 of 56 first-place votes in early poll

    Oklahoma will start the season as the overwhelming favorite to win the Big 12 Conference....

    July 18, 2014

  • Thunder V Denver Thunder add guard Morrow in deliberate, selective free agency

    Oklahoma City hasn’t been the busiest place during the NBA free agency period. However, it may have been among the pickiest. The Thunder officially signed free agent guard Anthony Morrow to a contract Wednesday. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound ...

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo