Arguably the NBA’s best two players go head-to-head for the first time this season on Sunday when LeBron James and the Miami Heat visit Kevin Durant and the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
The outcome of this game could impact the finals if these two clubs are to meet there.
At 35-11 the Heat, second to the East-leading Chicago Bulls (40-10), are percentage points ahead of the West-leading Thunder (36-12).
Home-court advantage during the finals is given to the owner of the better regular-season record.
Miami has won four straight despite James averaging only 18.5 points since injuring his elbow against the Suns on Tuesday.
LeBron (27 ppg) and Miami are right on their tails, at third with 101.5 points per contest.
The Thunder have been especially hot of late.
During its last eight games, Oklahoma City has averaged 112.1 points on 50.5 percent shooting, culminating Friday in a spectacular 149-140 double OT win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in which Westbrook (45) and Durant (40) combined for 85 points.
The difference between these offensive juggernauts lies in the defense.
Miami ranks sixth in points allowed (93.2) while the Thunder check in at 18th (97.4).
Mike Miller will not be traveling with the Heat due to an ankle injury.