What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Pure Joy. The Thunder were able to go on a crucial run late in the second quarter, continually exploit the Heat at their weakest points, and fight back any spark runs the Heat might be deciding to have. Against the league's second strongest team, the Thunder put in an even stronger performance.
What was tonight's turning point?
Miami went on an extreme Mini-run early on in the fourth, hitting eight points worth of shots in less than a minute, while James Harden turned the ball over twice. It put the Heat within 8 with about 7 minutes to go, but the Thunder responded with an Ibaka jumper and later two Perkins dunks. They never looked back.
What was, overall, the main reason the Thunder won?
Poor big man defense from the Heat. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins were able to score 19 and 16 points respectively, which has to be a combined high on the season. I can't tell you how many open jumpers and wide open dunks both of them got with some simple ball movement.
What is a key statistic to understanding tonight's game?
Turnovers. Miami had 21 of them, which is absurdly high for an NBA team. The Thunder were able to take advantage of the Heat's tendency to isolate and let their players get trapped. Bosh had three particularly crucial turnovers late in the second, while Wade and James combined for 10.
What does this game mean for the Thunder today and moving forward?
This win keeps the Thunder three games ahead of the Spurs for the Western Conference lead, and provides a huge confidence booster heading into a tough stretch of games.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, for his always poignant offense.
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, for his amazingly consistent jumper.
Thunder Blunder: Nick Collison, for two needless charging calls.
Thunder Plunderer: Dwayne Wade, for an efficient offensive night (if you ignore his turnovers).
Next Game: At the Portland Trail Blazers, Tuesday, March 27th, 9 PM Central Daylight Time