Heat vs. Thunder: Game 2 Highlights, Twitter Reaction and Analysis
In an absolutely thrilling matchup, the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 100-96 to even the 2012 NBA Finals at one game apiece.
No one said the finals weren't going to be entertaining. After the Heat controlled most of the game and led by as many as 17, the Thunder finally made an epic comeback about midway through the fourth quarter.
They climbed to within three with a minute-and-a-half to go before the Heat pulled out to what looked to be an insurmountable lead.
But a Durant layup followed by a Derek Fisher steal and Durant three-pointer pulled the Thunder to within two points. Durant missed on the next possession, LeBron James hit two clutch free throws and the game was over.
Let's take a closer look.
In case you weren't sure, Serge Ibaka is kind of a good defender. He had some absolutely huge blocks in the first half against the Heat. Take a look:
When LeBron James gets Kendrick Perkins on him one-on-one, it's not really fair. In this highlight, James easily takes Perkins off the dribble for the layup, avoiding Ibaka's shot-blocking ability:
The guys over at Grantland had a suggestion for Russell Westbrook after he missed an early free throw. You know the glasses he loves to wear pregame? Just put them on for the actual game:
DJ: Westbrook would have totally made that free throw if he had his lensless glasses on.— Grantland Live (@GrantlandLive) June 14, 2012
The Heat got off to another great start, but when they led just 27-15 after the first quarter, it seemed a little underwhelming. Hardwood Paroxysm, aka CBS' Matt Moore, agrees:
12 points after all that? Eh.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) June 14, 2012
ESPN's Sebastian Pruiti shows us that Miami's defense was pretty good in the first half. Did I say pretty good? I meant really super fantastically good:
The Miami Heat just held OKC to 43 points in a half...WOW— SebastianPruiti (@SebastianPruiti) June 14, 2012
From ESPN's Tom Haberstroh, Shane Battier did something he had never done before:
So here's something: Last time Shane Battier made four threes in back-to-back-to-back NBA games? Never.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) June 14, 2012
I'm sure that probably includes practices, too. Just kidding, Shane. Kind of.
Royce Young gives us this sarcastic tweet once Nick Collison finally entered the game in the third quarter. Collison got shockingly few minutes:
Hey! It's Nick Collison! What's he doing in the game?!?— Royce Young (@dailythunder) June 14, 2012
Chris Bosh has 7 offensive rebounds, first time all season #Finals— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) June 14, 2012
So, per usual, Kevin Durant had an alright second half, as HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy points out with this ridiculous stat:
Kevin Durant has yet to miss (7-7) in the second half. He has 26 points, after scoring just six in the first half.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 14, 2012
LeBron James, on the other hand, as ESPN's Brian Windhorst points out, wasn't quite as good:
LeBron scoreless in 4Q, tho going to lie here. He's probably going to have to come up with some plays to save this game for Miami.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 14, 2012
Grades for Key Heat Players
LeBron James: A-
LeBron James deserves what grade?
Besides his terrific defense, all James really contributed in the first half were some inefficiently scored points (12 on 11 shots).
Still, he was aggressive when he needed to be, and it was a good sign for what was to come in the second half.
And what came was an attacking James who constantly took advantage of mismatches and drove to the basket. He also got his teammates involved when necessary.
James struggled a bit in the fourth quarter, but he had both a great pass to Chris Bosh under the basket and a big bank shot down the stretch to go along with his two free throws.
It wasn't the all-around stat-stuffing effort you are used to seeing from James (32 points on 10-of-22 shooting, 12-of-12 from the line, eight rebounds, five assists), but it was an extremely smart game.
Dwyane Wade: A
Wade in the first half was like what LeBron was in the second half.
He obviously read all of the tweets and negative analysis about him and came out of the gates looking to get to the hoop. As a result, Wade made some early shots from the inside, and the Heat got out to an early lead.
It's what he constantly needs to do.
However, Wade started settling for jump shots a little more in the second half, and while he made some of those, he lost a bit of the necessary aggression.
Some key shots down the stretch when the Heat really looked to be faltering were incredibly key. Wade finished with 24 points on the night.
Grades for Key Thunder Players
Kevin Durant: A-
Durant just never got into the rhythm that he can get into during 99 percent of his games.
He got into early foul trouble and suffered through it all game long.
Of course, that was before the final eight minutes of the game, which is when Durant truly heated up and brought the Thunder back into it.
Despite his foul trouble, and despite missing some early three-point attempts, Durant held on to his clutch label and finished with an effective 32 points on 12-of-22 shooting. It was about as quietly dominating as you can get.
But just three rebounds and not much else on the stat sheet is a little disappointing.
Russell Westbrook: B
At one point in the first half, I thought to myself, "Hey, Russell Westbrook hasn't touched the ball." I looked to the box score and he was secretly 2-of-10 for a minus-19 rating. Yikes.
Westbrook started knocking down shots a little more in the second half, but it was still a pretty inconsistent performance.
He finished with 27 points, seven assists and eight rebounds. Also, he deserves major credit for his 7-to-2 assist-to-turnover ratio, so it's hard to put too much blame on the dynamic point guard. But he shot just 10-of-26 and failed to make several passes he should have made.
Deciding Factor: Aggressiveness
The Heat came out with a clear game plan. They made a conscious effort to get to the hoop, and as a result jumped out to a lead as big as 17.
Of course, in the fourth quarter, they weren't able to get to the hoop as well, and the Thunder, who did start getting into the lane, made a late comeback.
Game 3. Who ya got?
Whoever was being more aggressive was controlling the game. It was as simple as that.
Game MVP: Dwyane Wade
I'll officially list Wade here, just because he was the more important part of Miami's dynamic duo coming into this one. But if I could, I would give co-MVP to LeBron and Wade.
Chris Bosh and Shane Battier also deserve credit, but this one was all on the two stars.
What's Next: Game 3
These two teams head to Miami for Game 3, which takes place on Sunday, June 17, at 8:00 p.m. EST.
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