LeBron James driving to the basket in the paint.
The NBA finals series heads into a tie between the experienced Miami Heat and the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder after the Heat's 100-96 win Thursday night. The Miami Heat’s big three of Bosh, James, and Wade against the Thunder’s big three of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. In Game 1 Wade had 19 points, 8 assist and was 7-19 from the field in the loss. LeBron James had a series high of 30 points. Chris Bosh had 10 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. So how did they not come up with the win? I would say because of Kevin Durant and OKC’s offense.
The Miami Heat are a fast break team and are use to playing in fast transitions with quick long court passes and slam dunks. However, the Thunder held the Heat to 4 fast break points, while OKC had 24. After Game 1 the real question was if Kevin Durant and the Thunder offense could keep it up. Could LeBron James guard Durant? Game 2 gave us all the answers.
The Heat came out like an avalanche, crushing the Thunder with an 18-2 lead. With Bosh back in the starting lineup, the thrilling matchup one of the most thrilling games to watch to date. Dwayne Wade and the Heat started strong. I don’t think the Thunder were quit ready for the heat Miami brought to the court on Thursday. In transition, OKC was very sloppy and had multiple turnovers. Durant could not get into a rhythm and Westbrook was just playing his own game. It seemed like the Heat wanted it more and it definitely showed in their play. Durant was in foul trouble early, while on the other side of the court Wade was using the pick and roll to the Heat’s advantage. The first quarter ended with OKC shooting 5-20 from the field and the Heat leading 27-15. The Big Three of the Heat showed up huge in the first half. Shane Battier boosted the lead of the Heat multiple times with big three pointers. Serge Ibaka was not giving up on the defensive side of the ball though. Ibaka ended the game with a total of 5 blocked shots.
As the second half approached I was thinking could the Heat hold off OKC in the upcoming half as they did in the first? LeBron was taking it to the basket from the base line like champ and it seemed like he could not be guarded in the paint. All the starters from the Heat showed up with furious passion to win this game. Miami held the Thunder to zero fast break points in the first half, while the Heat scored 10. It was clear the James' and Wade’s key for scoring in Game 2 was driving to the basket and not just settling for an iffy jumper. If it was not for Serge Ibaka’s defense and James Harden’s 21 points, most which came early in the game, OKC would have been in a deeper hole then they already were after the first half.
In the third quarter the Heat lead by 15 points, but I was sensing a comeback in the midst for the Thunder. Even though Battier was 5-7 in Game 2, it was not over for Oklahoma City. With a big three pointer by Kevin Durant, the Thunder cut the lead down to 10 points. By the end of the third the score was 78-67, Miami. You can never count out Durant because in the fourth quarter he has played like there is no tomorrow. In the fourth he and the Thunder cut down the deficit to 8 points with a promising comeback in the making.
Westbrook added to the comeback with a big three to cut the deficit to 5 points with six minutes left. Durant answered the Heat runs by being 7-7 from the field in the beginning of the fourth quarter. It was plain to see now that the Thunder were playing their game and not letting the game play them. Westbrook and Durant sparked the fourth quarter and were finally playing like a duo. At the end of the fourth quarter the Thunder got a big steal and the clutch three pointer from Durant brought the Thunder within 2 with 7.1 seconds remaining.
Now here’s where it gets a little tricky. As the replay shows, Durant was fouled by James but no whistle was blown. Durant missed the shot. LeBron came up big when his team needed it most, and went 12-12 from the line during the game. Wade walked off the court with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assist. James added to that with 32 points. The Heat will host the next game in south Florida on Sunday, June 17th at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Heat dominated the whole game, but the Thunder were relentless and kept chipping away at the score.
Now, the real question is who will want it more in Game 3?