He said before the game he is still not over losing to them two
years ago in the NBA Finals.
The Heat did not seem to care who was in the lineup. They rolled
over the Thunder 103-81 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The teams split the regular season series 1-1. But the talk after
the game was how Miami came away with a statement win at the
"I've liked the business approached that we've had," Miami coach
Eric Spoelstra said. "It's a good win. A good end of the trip."
Just as disconcerting for Oklahoma City fans was seeing MVP
candidate forward Kevin Durant get outplayed by Miami's reigning MVP
forward LeBron James.
While James knocked down 33 points to go along with seven rebounds
and eight turnovers, Durant paced the Thunder with 28 points, eight
rebounds and five turnovers.
"We just had a bad night," Durant said. "We just have to move past
it and get better from it. Get ready for the next one."
It was James' fourth consecutive game to go past the 30-point mark.
He did this despite leaving the game with a bloody nose after being
hit in the face by Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka before dunking
According to the Heat, James was given a concussion test and was
given the all clear.
"He has a swollen nose now and it's bleeding," Spoelstra said.
"We'll evaluate when we get back to Miami. But it's sore. He took a
shot. He got hit pretty good though in the nose. I'm like everybody
else, you're used to seeing him like Superman, get up and sprint
back even after tough hits and tough falls. So we knew something was
The Thunder (43-13) entered the fourth quarter trailing by only 11.
Several times this year, Oklahoma City made comebacks in the final
period spurred on by its bench.
However, it was the Heat's (39-14) bench that began the process of
closing out Oklahoma. Shots by guard Ray Allen and center Chris Bosh
quickly pushed Miami's advantage to 19 before Durant could check
back into the game and slow the bleeding.
With Westbrook on a minutes restriction, he was not brought back
into the game until midway through the period. By then, the Heat had
James left the court with 5:43 left and Miami leading 90-74. Despite
that, the Thunder could not make a dent and never threatened the
rest of the way as guard Dwayne Wade shouldered the load.
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"Those guys hit some tough ones," Durant said. "Especially in the
post. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade hit some tough shots one-on-one
over some good defense. When guys like that are hitting jumps shots,
it's tough to guard them."
Wade ended the night with 24 points on 11-for-17 shooting to go
along with 10 assists. Bosh added 24 points and eight rebounds.
Westbrook posted 16 points and two assists in 24 minutes of work.
Ibaka scored 14 points and grabbed eight boards. However, he had
only one blocked shot.
James didn't wait for the game to come to him in the opening
quarter. The four-time MVP took the game to the Thunder as he scored
14 points in the first six minutes of action.
Conversely, Durant was just as passive. He didn't make a shot until
there was 5:13 left in quarter. It allowed the Heat to go ahead
34-17 heading into second quarter.
Miami pushed its lead to 19 points before Oklahoma City slowly went
about the business of grinding away at the deficit. And it was guard
Reggie Jackson and forward Perry Jones III who did the heavy
But it was a late scoring outburst by Westbrook that pulled the
Thunder to within 54-47 at halftime.
"I was very excited for him," Durant said of Westbrook. "He gets to
play the game he loves again. He looked really good out there."
NOTES: The Miami Heat dealt G Roger Mason Jr. to the Sacramento
Kings at the NBA trading deadline. The move leaves the team the
option of picking up a player in advance of the playoffs. "We have
the flexibility now to choose," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
"Right now, the business side of it is that it gives us flexibility
going down the stretch." ... According to team officials, the 60
media requests Oklahoma City received for the game against Miami is
more than any regular season game in Thunder history. ... As the
second half of the season kicked off for the Oklahoma, secondary
ticket market Vivid Seats showed that the Thunder has the highest
median ticket price for the second half of the NBA season at $185.
The New York Knicks are second at $159. ... Despite the teams
history, Miami F LeBron James isn't ready to call Heat vs. Thunder a
rivalry. "It's hard to say 'rivalry' when you see North Carolina and
Duke. "There's no rivalry in (NBA) basketball today. There's some
very good teams that's happy to go against guys. You got to come up
with another word."
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