The Miami Heat had the Oklahoma City Thunder just where they wanted them.
Then the second half came and the result was a 105-94 win for the Thunder, and a 1-0 lead in the 2012 NBA Finals.
While the final score is a tad misleading, there is no question OKC was able to shake off the rust and the nerves of being in the NBA Finals to demolish the Heat in the second half. This stat by NBA.com’s John Schuhmann says it all:
Thunder were down 66-62 & then scored on 21 of their final 29 possessions.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) June 13, 2012
They outscored Miami 58-40 as the Thunder committed only two turnovers in the final 24 minutes.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook outscored the Heat by themselves in the second half by a 41-40 count. They were attacking the basket and refusing to settle for anything less than a quality shot attempt.
Durant scored 36 points, which is the most points a player has scored in his finals debut since Iverson back in ’01 (48). Thabo Sefolosha played incredible defense and Nick Collison came off the bench to contribute eight points and 10 boards in only 21 minutes.
It’s almost like they forgot it was the most important game of their lives and they were just playing another game. The nerves were nonexistent.
Meanwhile on the other side of the floor…
After hitting a few long-range jumpers early, Chris Bosh decided to keep on clunking. He ended up making just 4-of-11 shots and finished with just 10 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes.
Bosh seemed to be hiding his abdominal strain injury and the Thunder knew it. He has to get back in the paint to give the Heat offense better balance.
In the first half the Heat were getting open looks behind the arc, and were knocking them down. They drilled six three’s in the first half after averaging six three’s per game in the playoffs.
In the second half they settled for far too many jumpers, resulting in a 27-to-18 free throw discrepancy. It seems as if the Heat were unable to handle the adjustments of the Thunder after halftime and the offense ended up stalling far more often than it should have.
Wade played a horrific game, scoring 19 points on 19 shots while having the crucial turnover with under a minute remaining to seal the Thunder win.
You can’t fault James, who had 30-9-4 and didn’t disappear in the fourth (seven points).
This was a team loss, and everybody on Miami deserves blame, but I’d say Wade is the one who deserves the brunt of it.
The Thunder outscored the Heat 24-4 on fastbreak points and outrebounded them 43 to 35. They played better in virtually every category and enter Game 2 knowing they can take a vicious right hook from the Heat and get right back up.
Did I mention James Harden only scored five points and had zero rebounds?
Miami has some serious adjustments to make but for now, but Game 1 will be remembered for the incredible performance by the young Thunder in the second half.