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A 7:30 p.m. matchup at the Sprint Center (1407 Grand) between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder provides a lesson in contrast, NBA-style. The Heat is a gerry­mandered collection of stars, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh playing together for championships, camaraderie and a significant decrease in their tax rates. They personify why people don't like the NBA: James' and Bosh's decisions to depart Cleveland and Toronto, respectively, showed a callous disregard for the fans of the Cavaliers and the Raptors. (Worse, James' one-hour special announcing his relocation showed an almost pathological narcissism.) The Thunder's Kevin Durant is, on the other hand, everything that NBA fans crave: a genuine superstar who, with his stellar play, led the U.S. team to a victory in the 2010 FIBA World Championships. More important, Durant has made it clear that playing in Oklahoma City is something he appreciates, a welcome departure from superstars who pledge loyalty to a fanbase, only to leave when a larger market beckons. Tickets cost $12-$202. Call 800-745-3000.— Chris Rasmussen
Fri., Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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