The Oklahoma City Thunder wanted a big victory over the Miami Heat tonight, but Lebron James decided that wasn’t going to happen. James dropped 39 points, 12 rebounds in the 110-100 win over the Thunder. Oklahoma City trailed by as many 25 points, but couldn’t find a way to over come the deficit. Kevin Durant dropped 40 points for the Thunder, 22 in the fourth quarter.
It’s not the start that move super stars look for in a battle of the two best teams in the NBA. Durant started the game 0-of-7 before finally nailing a shot and was 2-of-10 for the first half.
The scariest moment of the first half was when Durant landed on his left side on a nasty fall attempting a rebound. He wasn’t able to catch himself, and crashed into his left shoulder and side. Durant said he re-injured his rib contusion that he suffered against Cleveland. Durant had a solid second half, 26 points, so I would say he recovered well.
This story though of this game was Lebron James. It’s hard, as a Thunder blog to leave out a lot of what the opponent does, as most of you only care about the Thunder. However, what Lebron did tonight, especially in the final 1:36 of the first half, is just something that you’ll see that might go down in history. Anytime he wanted it, he got his shot and the ball went in. The dagger from aboug 26-feet with just under three minutes to go was just the nail in the coffin tonight.
Credit Oklahoma City for keeping their composure in the second half, despite being down by 25 points. Oklahoma City capitalized at the right times, and found themselves within 14 points when James was on the bench. Oklahoma City cut the deficit to 14 points at 94-80 with 8:31 left in the game. Then with 2:56 left in the game, the Thunder were able to push the Heat lead down to just 10 points at 104-94.
Oklahoma City then left Shane Battier wide open. Nightmares from the NBA Finals came flooding back as he nailed the three from the corner. It gave the Heat the comfortable lead that they needed.
The good guys cut the lead down to eight points at 108-100 with 45 seconds left to go, but it really wasn’t meant to be this evening. Lebron James was too much, and Durant got started way too late.
It’s a credit to the Miami Heat and their game plan in defending Durant and the Thunder. Defending and crowding Durant and forcing him out of his comfort zone worked well. He rushed his shots and forced the rest of the team to beat the Heat. Didn’t work though, Russell Westbrook played well, dropped 20 first half points, but that was about it. The rest of the team had just 12 points at the break.
Keys to the Game
Rotation Defense: D
Many left open players for the Heat tonight. That really hurt. Oklahoma City really tried to help defense on Lebron James, even when he was heating up. They were doing everything they could to stop him, but just couldn’t. Miami made the Thunder pay with their bad defense.
16 turnovers? 18 points off those turnovers? Oklahoma City should just be embarrassed. They did nothing but forced passes and poor decision making in the first 2 1/2 quarters. Yeah, turnovers were pretty even, even the points off them were pretty equal. Yet, the Heat made the Thunder pay more it just seemed.
The Bench: F
Oklahoma City was outscored 26-16 in bench scoring. Ray Allen was huge for the Heat and Norris Cole was key in certain moments. The Thunder’s bench just really sucked tonight to keep it simple. Oklahoma City officially needs help, and Sam Presti needs to do something about it, ASAP.