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Thunder: A Closer Look At Tonight's Matchup With The Heat

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While the Thunder (5-1) sit atop the Western Conference Standings six games into the season, OKC will attempt to stay undefeated at home when they host the Miami Heat (2-3) at 7 p.m.

Related: Westbrook Scores 28, Leads Thunder Past Timberwolves, 112-92

Here are a few things to know about tonight’s matchup:

No more Dwayne Wade

Just like the Thunder look different without No. 35 out on the court, the Heat come to town without Dwayne Wade for the first time since OKC had a professional basketball team, which means Miami will look a bit different on Monday night. 

Seeing Wade jetted for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Miami opted to build around big man Hassan Whiteside while inking little known Tyler Johnson to a long-term deal.

Holding onto Whiteside (four-year, $98.4 million) looks to be a brilliant move by Heat President Pat Riley, seeing the center is averaging 20 points and 14.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game so far this season. Despite the size of the contract (four-year, $50 million) locking down Johnson also looks like a solid move for Miami as the Fresno State product is averaging 15.4 points on the year while playing just under 30 minutes per game.

The return of Dion Waiters

One of the many former Thunder players throughout the league will make his return to OKC when Dion Waiters takes the floor tonight in a road uniform. After the Thunder rescinded his qualifying offer, Waiters signed a two-year, $6 million-dollar deal with the Heat.

Waiters is third on the team in minutes played at 33.4 per game, and is averaging 11 points on 35-percent shooting.

While Waiters was never considered a fan favorite when he was in OKC, he was very solid down the stretch and throughout the playoffs. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him receive a solid ovation from Thunder fans.

Westbrook triple-double watch: 2

It’s been three games since Russell Westbrook last recorded a triple-double, which means the electrifying point guard may be due one tonight.

Not only is it a home game, but Westbrook tends to play even harder when he squares off against Heat point guard Goran Dragic, and the two have been known to jaw back and forth during games. Even though Westbrook never needs extra motivation out on the court, look for Westbrook to completely take over tonight’s game and win the 1-on-1 point guard matchup.  

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