Thunder notebook: Bad blood building between OKC and Miami

Heat forward Udonis Haslem calls out Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. Haslem said, “I don't see him being any tough guy...”
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Published: April 5, 2012
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The Thunder had an optional practice session Thursday in Indianapolis, and players weren't available to the media.

But this marks the fifth time in the past three seasons that tempers have flared between the Thunder and Heat.

Two years ago, Westbrook got into a small skirmish with then-Heat center Jermaine O'Neal during an early season game at Miami. Last year, Durant called Heat forward Chris Bosh a “fake tough guy” to the media after the two exchanged words during a game in Oklahoma City.

In early February, James drew the ire of Perkins for tweeting about Blake Griffin's highlight dunk against him. Perkins ripped James for constantly seeking attention and the world's approval rather than playing to win a championship like other great players of yesterday and today. And on March 25 in Oklahoma City, Perkins swung his leg following a dunk and kicked Wade in the face, prompting a lengthy stare down by Wade.

THUNDER CAN CLINCH DIVISION TITLE FRIDAY

With a win Friday at Indiana, the Thunder can clinch its second straight Northwest Division title.

Oklahoma City is currently 11 games up on second-place Denver in the division, with both teams having 12 games remaining. The only way that the Thunder could not capture the division crown is if it loses its final 12 games and the Nuggets win all 12 of their remaining games. That means the Thunder's magic number is one, which requires only one more Thunder win or one more Nuggets loss for OKC to secure the division title.

If the Thunder drops its final 12 games and the Nuggets go 11-1 to tie Oklahoma City at 40-26, the Thunder would still win the division title since it already owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Nuggets after winning two out of three in the season series.

The Thunder won its first Northwest Division title last year after going 55-27, beating second-place Denver by five games.

UP NEXT

The Thunder will face the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It is the second game of this two-game road trip. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.