The Oklahoma City Thunder (47-34) clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Miami Heat 115-93 and sweeping the season series. The Thunder's Russell Westbrook had another triple double (24) and helped blow open the fourth quarter outscoring the Heat 39-12. They are currently in the seventh seed in the Western Conference and in a virtual tie with New Orleans Pelicans (5th Seed) and San Antonio Spurs (6th seed) and just a half game behind the fourth seeded Utah Jazz.
Westbrook had 23 points, and had game highs in rebounds (18) and assist (13). Paul George had the game high in scoring category scoring 27 points. They also got a surprising 17 points off the bench from versatile forward Jerami Grant.
This was also a significant win for the Thunder because the rebounding and assist category were even (43 rebounds and 21 assist). So this game came down to who made shots and which stars made the necessary plays. They also held first year All-Star Goran Dragic to just 4 points on 2-10 shooting and did not allow him to get to the free throw line.
The Heat (43-38) who have clinched at playoff spot in the Eastern Conference are currently in the seventh seed. They were led by second player Josh Richardson who scored 18 points. Center Hassan Whiteside chipped in with 16 points and 8 rebounds.
The Heat made only five threes compared to 14 by the Thunder. The ultimate difference was the Thunders will to get to the free throw line and put the onus on the referees by outscoring the Heat 31-8. That won’t get it done for Miami come playoff time, especially when their All-Star doesn’t play well.
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