The Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets are the two hottest teams in the NBA.
The Heat has the second-longest winning streak in league history at 23 straight, while the Nuggets stretched their run to 13 straight with a 114-104 victory over the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday night.
Denver and Miami completed their two-game regular-season series way back in mid-November. The Heat won 119-116 in Miami on Nov. 3 and won 98-93 at Denver on Nov. 15th.
The only way the Heat and Nuggets can meet again this season would be in the NBA Finals.
“I hope we have another opportunity to play them,” Denver coach George Karl said. “That would be a dream come true.”
Of the 13 teams the Nuggets have disposed of consecutively, eight currently are bound for the playoffs.
“We're not beating up on the little guys,” Karl said. “I don't think our team is going to let up. I think they enjoy what's going on right now.”
Denver (47-22) trails OKC (50-18) by just 3 1/2 games for second in the Western Conference playoff race and owns the tiebreaker with its 3-1 series edge over the Thunder thanks to winning the last three meetings.
Eight of the Nuggets' 13 remaining games are at home and only five games are against playoff teams.
The Thunder has 14 games remaining, with eight on the road and seven against playoffs teams, beginning with Wednesday's 7 p.m. game at Memphis.
Thunder starting power forward Serge Ibaka, who suffered a badly swollen left eye against San Antonio last week, received a cut above his right eye Tuesday after getting hit by the left elbow of teammate Reggie Jackson. Ibaka's status for Wednesday game at Memphis was not immediately known.
OKC reserve center Hasheem Thabeet missed his third straight game with a sore lower back, but was hopeful to return Wednesday.
Denver reserve forward Wilson Chandler suffered a slight left shoulder separation and did not return. Starting point guard Ty Lawson re-aggravated an Achilles injury.
Russell Westbrook will hold his third annual WHY NOT? Foundation bowling event on April 1 at AMF Boulevard Lanes in Edmond.
It will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. and will include open bowling, contests and a silent auction.
For ticket pricing, contact Ian Grutman at (305) 531-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, contact Tammy Brook at (212) 841-2806 or email@example.com.
Westbrook founded his WHY NOT? Foundation in 2012 to inspire the lives of children who are at-risk, experiencing hardship, low-income and poor academic performance. The foundation is dedicated to supporting community based education and family service programs while encouraging youth to believe in themselves despite adversity.
The Thunder saw its 20-game home-court winning streak against Western Conference teams snapped and is now 21-2 against the West at home for the season. The other loss was against Memphis on Nov. 14. … OKC was outscored 72-50 in the paint by Denver and 19-11 in second-chance points. … Three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant had 34 points, but struggled with six turnovers and went 0 for 6 from 3-point range, marking the 10th time this season he failed to convert a 3-pointer. … Rev. Jesse Jackson attended the game.
Karl on reserve point guard Andre Miller, who turned 37 Tuesday and finished with 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds: “He's a coach and a teacher and a veteran and he does it every day in a classy way, in a very quiet way. And then he can do what he did tonight, take the most talented team maybe in the NBA and be the best player on the court for the last six minutes of the game.”