Heat vs. Thunder: Westbrook, Durant Will Dethrone Miami's Dynamic Duo

Ethan NorofCorrespondent IApril 4, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29:  Russell Westbrook #0 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates a last second three pointer at the end of the third quarter during a 102-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Before the season, most fans would have taken the combination of Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade ahead of Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Can the same be said now?

Although there is still a large contingent of people who would gladly take the Heat duo time and time again over the young Thunder stars, the question of which combination packs the more potent punch is well worth asking.

Here are the comparisons of what each pairing has done this season:

Durant: 27.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks, 50.2 percent shooting

Westbrook: 24.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, 47.4 percent shooting

Wade: 22.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.4 blocks, 50.3 percent shooting

James: 26.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, 53.7 percent shooting

As we can see, the production between each duo is remarkably similar.

However, this is the Thunder's time to shine.

Durant and Westbrook have been absolutely balling since the All-Star break, and there is no reason to think that is going to change at any point in the near future.

Coming into the Eastern Conference showdown, Oklahoma City sits at a pristine 40-13 record, the second-best mark in the league behind the Chicago Bulls. While Miami's 38-14 record is certainly nothing to scoff at, the team has come out flat in some meaningful games of late and that has prompted concern.

There is a changing of the guard in the league, and we're going to see it unfold on Wednesday. Durant and Westbrook, each just 23 years old, are looking to knock off James, 27 and Wade, 30, for the top pairing around the NBA.

Last time these two teams squared off, the Thunder absolutely smoked the Heat up and down the floor for the entire 48 minutes.

The MVP race may be between James and Durant at this point, but Oklahoma City has a distinct edge when it comes to which team boasts the more desirable duo. Look for the two kids who had so many doubters to step up when the lights are brightest and their team needs them to deliver.

That's just what they do.

Durant and Westbrook will continue to lead by example for a Thunder squad that has quieted all of its previous doubters in emphatic fashion.

Durant and Westbrook have arrived on the game's biggest stage, and they're looking more than capable of living up to the hype.