W Bennett Berry
The Heat jump out to an early lead and cruise to victory over the Thunder, 110-100
Lebron James had 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists as the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-100.
The Heat came out on fire and jumped out to a 15 point lead at the end of the first, and slowly extended the lead over 20 midway through the third.
In the final quarter, OKC, led by Durant's 22 4th quarter points, started to chip away at the lead and cut it to 10 with 3 minutes left, but were never able to get it any closer.
Chris Bosh had 20 for the Heat, while Ray Allen and Dwayne Wade each had 13. The Thunder were led by Kevin Durant with 40, and Russell Westbrook who had 26.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Some say the Thunder entered this game in a no-win scenario. If they won, it was cause Miami was disinterested, and if they lost, it was the Heat further demonstrating their dominance over OKC. While I thought a win would've meant a lot going forward for OKC's confidence, tonight could not have gone much worse for the Thunder.
Tonight seemed to be a mirror image of the end of the NBA finals last year, OKC had no answers for whatever Miami was throwing at them and did little to adjust. Scott Brooks and the Thunder have seemed stubborn at times and refused to make changes when the game dictated so. Hopefully Brooks was electing to hold something back, in hopes of introducing something new in case these two teams meet in the finals.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
The Thunder have lost their last six games against the Heat, and they've all been in similar fashion. The Thunder seemed to come out with a sense of urgency, but Miami was able quickly cool OKC. Durant seemed to have lost his composure early on, going 2-10 in the first half and never really got it back until the fourth, where he ripped off 22 points as he tried to bring the Thunder back. .
Miami was also to take key Thunder players out of the ballgame. The Heat were able to keep Serge away from the rim and eliminated his help defense around the rim. Kevin Martin was never involved in OKC's offense, and only took five shot on the night.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
The Heat shot 50% from the field in the first half while holding the Thunder to 33%. We've seen OKC do this to teams, shooting 10%+ than their opponents and get dominating victories, tonight OKC was on the receiving end.
In the third the Thunder improve to 56% from the floor, and STILL lost the quarter by 2 points. Although Lebrons 30 pts 60% streak was broken tonight, he still was able to lead a very efficient offense, combined with a smothering D. If it hadn't been for Durant getting hot in the fourth, this game would've been much worse.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder now have the next 5 days off for the all star break before entering the final stretch of the season. This break couldn't have come at a better time, as the Thunder need to regroup and focus on how they can overtake the Spurs for the top spot in the west. OKC is currently 39-14 and 2.5 games back of the Spurs.
It now seems unlikely that Durant will win the MVP. The conversation has always been KD vs Lebron, but whenever the two meet it's obvious that Lebron right now is miles ahead of Durant and it will take a monumental collapse for Lebron to lose the trophy.
We are also a week away from the trading deadline. Sam Presti might look at tonight and see that if the Thunder want to have a legitimate shot at the NBA Title, they may have to make some sort of move. Although, I don't know what that move should be.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 40 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook, 26 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds.
Thunder Blunder: Kevin Martin, 9 points.
Thunder Plunderer: Lebron James, 39 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists.
Next game: @ Houston Rockets, on Wednesday, Febuary 20th @ 7 CDT
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