Oklahoma City Thunder Go 8 Straight Games Without Allowing 20-Point Scorer

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Oklahoma City Thunder Go 8 Straight Games Without Allowing 20-Point Scorer
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

With Thursday's lopsided 103-81 victory, the Miami Heat ended the Oklahoma City Thunder's NBA-record streak of eight consecutive games without allowing a 20-point scorer.

The streak, though impressive, came crashing down Thursday night as Miami's LeBron James scored 33 points, while Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh tallied 24 apiece. The Thunder held some excellent scorers—namely New York's Carmelo Anthony and Minnesota's Kevin Love—under 20 points during the streak, but Oklahoma City didn't stand a chance against the Heat on Thursday.

James scored Miami's first 12 points of the game, leaving little doubt that he'd be ending the streak. He crossed the 20-point barrier with 10:56 remaining in the third quarter and was later joined by the other two-thirds of Miami's "big three." The dominant trio combined for 81 points—matching Oklahoma City's team total—while shooting a lofty 66.7 percent on field-goal attempts. 

As good as James and Co. are, Thursday's dominant offensive performance was still somewhat surprising. With all the focus on Kevin Durant's prolific scoring, it's easy to forget that Oklahoma City boasts a near-elite defense.

The Thunder rank sixth in the NBA in points allowed per game (97.7), fourth in points allowed per 100 possessions (99.4), and second in opponents' field-goal percentage (43.2). On offense, Oklahoma City is sixth in points per game (104.6), sixth in points per 100 possessions (107.2), and third in field-goal percentage (47.4).

If they win a championship this season, the narrative will be that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant finally learned the ideal way to play together on offense. While that probably needs to happen in order for the Thunder to win, an elite defense certainly won't hurt their chances. 

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