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Heat-Thunder Game 1: Who has been here before? Poised OKC pulls away for win.

Jun 13, 2012, 12:31 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One Getty Images

Miami is the team in its second consecutive trip to the NBA finals, the team that talked about its new attitude, how it learned from last season, about LeBron James‘ new glare, and was more comfortable on the stage.

But like they did throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs — and like they did last finals — the Heat took plays off, quarters off in Game 1. And that costs them. The Thunder are just too good to coast against.

Miami had a 13-point first quarter lead and watched it evaporate under some pressure from the Thunder in the second half. OKC played better defense and the Heat became jump shooters, shots they missed. Meanwhile Kevin Durant was knocking down his jumpers on his way to scoring 23 of 36 in second half, as the Thunder scored on 21 of the last 29 possessions.

The result was a poised Thunder team pulling away from the Heat, winning 105-94 to take a 1-0 series lead in the NBA finals. Game 2 is Thursday night.

One game does not a series make — the NBA finals have a long history of teams losing the first game and coming back to win the series. Including Dallas last year.

But this game looked like the Heat have played all playoffs long. So far that has been good enough. It will not be anymore.

In the first half Miami got great performances from its role players — Shane Battier had 13, Mario Chalmers had 10 and the Heat were 6-10 from three from three. LeBron James had 14 but a quiet 14. Dwyane Wade was making good decisions.

Yet at the half, the Heat were only up 7, 54-47. You knew a Thunder run was coming. If you watched the Heat all season you knew a slump was very possible.

And you didn’t have to wait long. The Thunder came out with a lot more defensive intensity in the third quarter, they went on a 9-3 run and the game was tied. Miami shot just 33 percent for the quarter.

And that let the Thunder get out and run — they won the fast break points this game 24-4. Running is supposed to be the Heat’s thing, but they ran into a team as athletic as they are.

“They pounded us on the break and that led to everything else,” Chris Bosh said. “We’re going to have to figure out how to stop this team’s fast break because that really gets them going, especially here on their home court.”

One way to do that is to make shots — the Heat didn’t in the second half. They started to settle for jump shots. Credit the Thunder and particularly Thabo Sefolosha for that — he shut Wade off (7-of-19 shooting) and spent key stretches on LeBron (11-of-24 shooting).

Meanwhile, Durant and Russell Westbrook owned the show. Westbrook had 12 of his 27 in the third, Durant had 17 of his 36 in the fourth. The Heat defense wants to take away your passing lanes and force you into isolation basketball, it’s their design. But it doesn’t really work against the Thunder because Westbrook and Durant thrive in that setting.

“We’re a better defensive team than we showed tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. They need to prove it.

Each quarter the Thunder seemed to get more comfortable on the stage and with the matchups. The Heat did their coasting thing again.

If that doesn’t change, three out of the next five games in this series will look a lot like this one.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Don’t have to win them all. Just have to win four…….which admittedly will not happen if Durant and Westbrook are able to do what they want when they want. But nevertheless, came to OKC looking to split. Still very attainable.


    • cosanostra71 - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:39 AM

      “winning” half a game doesn’t count lol. Close only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades. you have won 12 games in the playoffs.

    • cpaulii - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      Welcome to OKC…

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2012 at 5:29 AM

      Change my prediction, OKC in 4!

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2012 at 6:51 AM

      You must have forgot you have LeBron on your team, not Durant.
      By the way, you were right, last nights game was very enjoyable.

  2. bestcoastinfluence - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Kevin Durant has become the best 4th quarter player in the league and Lebron needs to learn how to play in the 4th because at times he just looks lost out there.

    • grndizzle - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      I would have to say Durant has become the best player in the NBA period…..

  3. canehouse - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    fun game tonight… even in defeat! Looking forward to Thursday night!!!

  4. badintent - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    I counted 5 long jumpers in a row by Heat in the last 5 minutes of the game which lead to 5 fast breaks for the Thunder, terrible plays, no pick and rolls, no alley oops off of back screen picks, nothing. Bosh should scream for the ball on the block, Ibaka can not handle him in close, Bosh will pump fake him into 3 quick fouls in 2 minutes. Bosh is great passer out of double teams too. What was Eric thinking ??? Not thinking. Why does he take Shane out after hitting 3 straight 3s ?? any ideas. ???Jeff Van Gundy was right on to nail Eric to the cross on that . Maybe Heat can hire his brother next year.Thunder in 6

    • grndizzle - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Didn’t the heat already fire his brother?

  5. badintent - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Any one see Fisher nail some more big shots ?? Sorry Kobe , your popcorn is burning, watching the game are ya ?? Fakers not playing ?? But Fisher is ! Nice.Karma son.

    • slopmcflop - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      Making some big shots,how about seeing him run the fastbreak….TWICE. I seriously spit my drink out when I saw him attack DWade on the fastbreak one on one, and actually score! Who woulda thunkit?

  6. dnbajunkie - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Why does every time Miami loses, it’s because they took it so easy & just coast along. Let’s give credit where credit is due!! OKC won because they played better as a team and out played Miami in the 2’nd half. OKC is evolving to be a very strong 4’th quarter team. They did it with the Mavericks, Lakers & Spurs, and all of these teams have championship pedigree.

    • scalfor3 - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:17 AM

      seriously. no team plays great for an entire game straight, but whenever miami loses its because they “coasted” or “took it easy”. believe it or not, its possible that they had stretches where they just didn’t play well, kurt…

    • scalfor3 - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:29 AM

      so miami got 17 pts from battier and 12 from chalmers. harden only played 22 mins and was held to 5 pts.

      and okc won by 11.

      miami could be in trouble. 19 pts on 7-19 shooting isn’t gonna cut it wade.

  7. raysfan1 - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Certainly it’s just one game, but this has been the Thunder’s M.O. all through the playoffs…get the bench heavily involved early, KD picking his spots and distributing the ball, stay close in the first half, intense defense, transition, and sink the free throws. They’ve orchestrated 20+ point swings against the Lakers, the Spurs, and the Heat.

    It’s not a fluke.

  8. david8726 - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    There’s a huge difference in depth between these two teams. Tonight the Heat basically played 6 guys while OKC had 8 legit players in the game. I feel like they might have worn down. Obviously Durant was spectacular and hammed the nails in the coffin late.

    If we want to win we need more from Wade and must find a way to slow Durant late.

  9. diablito0402 - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    If WE want to win we need more from wade” no dude they need more from you, david, i didnt know you where on the team, at least foul someone!!!

  10. tomtravis76 - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    I hope this is a 7 game series. Durant is a special ball player, his life is about to seriously change after this series.

    As for Miami, I am really hating watching Bosh play. He is the highest paid player on the team, he is coming off the bench , and he “plays ball like a girl”. He is 6’10 and wants to take jumpers(durants skills are different), even Van Gundy said he would like to see Bosh in the paint. Dude needs to toughen up and dominate the low post, if not some team in the league will want to try to sell tickets around Bosh. He cant be this much of a pu$$y. And Lebron needs to get real friendly with Durant since he will be(needs to be) sharing KD’s shorts every minute of the rest of the series. Wade, is Westbrook going to really out want/out play you for this title? Make the Thunder players on Team USA uncomfortable having to play alonside you not the other way around. The Heat players will look like clowns losing to OKC then have play and give the boys the spotlight at your final Olympics, they will take that from you aswell.

    Thursday cant get here soon enough to see how both teams come out to play.

    • badintent - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:28 AM

      I watched Bosh put 38 and 41 on Howard when he was a Raptor. Just give him the ball on the block. about 25 times , I promise you he won’t disappoint you !

  11. lyndseymarieee - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    LeBron can guard all the positions he wants. He can have the better defense. He can have the better stats. But what he can’t do is step up in the fourth quarter like KD. Until he learns to do that, I don’t think he will ever get a ring. He’s certainly talented enough but he just can’t turn it on when it counts the most and that’s kind of a shame.

    • david8726 - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      Seriously? We’re having this stupid conversation again?

      Were you not watching last series when LeBron was amazing in the 4th quarter of a game 7 in the ECF?

      He’s perfectly capable of playing well late in huge games. He got outplayed by Durant in the 4th tonight, but no one has big 4th quarters in every game they play.

      • lyndseymarieee - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:44 AM

        I knew that would be coming as soon as I posted that comment. Perhaps I should have said, “But what he can’t do is step up consistently in the fourth quarter like KD.”

        Durant has had huge fourth quarters all through the playoffs but you can’t say the same for LeBron. It’s ok if you disagree. I’m just calling it like I see it.

      • cpaulii - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:29 AM

        This is not Boston, or Indiana, or any other East team son,,, this is OKC, from the tougher West Division. The team that beat the MAVs, Lakers and Spurs..

      • david8726 - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:36 AM

        Uh, yes I can say the same for LeBron. He’s been extremely consistent throughout this playoff run. The only reason the Heat are in the finals is because that man put the team on his back and carried him there – And that includes in the 4th quarter of games.

      • gmsingh - Jun 13, 2012 at 7:23 AM

        Which were the really bad 4th quarters that MIchael Jordan played on his way to 6 championships? The LeBron apologists are amazing–if truth be told, if he had the killer instinct to close out big games that would have shown up by now.

      • abchome - Jun 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Yes, no need to talk about it again because it’s so well known.

  12. magicbucs - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    I know its only 1 game but get the brooms out, I got the dust pan ready 😉


  13. dirtybird2020 - Jun 13, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    He plays amazing in the 4th until it matters! Lebron has no heart! Choking runs in his family! His mom chokes in delonte west, his dad chokes on parenthood, and lebron chokes when it matter! Love it, this guy just doesnt have it and cant wait to rub it in all offseason! Jd is the best player in the world, a natural scorer, not a player who relys on athleticism and cant hit a shot at a high percentage unless less its a layup, we know what happens to thise players when they lose it, they fade away into a hasbeen, but when ur a natural scorer like dirk you have it till you die! Lbj chokes always! Once again we witness history repeating itself!

  14. dirtybird2020 - Jun 13, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Id personally trade lbj he brings nothing but choking to a team! Glad hes not in chitown, id have nightmares! Imagine what u could get in trade value and picks you would have a championship team but this no heart queen plagues ya like he did cleveland when he gives up and blames everyone else! Love watching this crap if a city crumble! Call me a hater, ILL BE THAT!

  15. dirtybird2020 - Jun 13, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    Kd is the best player in the world!******

  16. passerby23 - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Corrections for Kurt Helin and staff:

    1. About Miami “taking plays off.” This just in: they have no bench! Lebron has to facilitate 70% of his team’s offense AND battle big men AND guard the opposing team’s best player for long periods of time. They aren’t taking plays off, they are tired. When you have no bench, you have lapses in quality of play.

    2. About criticism for Lebron “not being clutch.” We get it, the guy is good. His body of work throughout the game is unparalleled. He has had big games. The criticism is 4th quarter performances when everything is on the line. The difference between Lebron and the other greats is Lebron does not have the confidence to rise up and take jumpshots late in games when the defense takes away driving lanes. He insists on trying to power into the lane or drive past 2 or 3 swarming defenders. Good team defenses clamp down on you. If they lose this series and Lebron shows what he did in the 4th quarter of Game 1, the criticism is justified. When you’re a 3-time MVP, you HAVE TO develop the ability to make big time jump shots the way Durant does late in games. You can’t expect to get easier lanes and foul calls late in games the way you do for 3 quarters.

    3. The Heat (and the homer Heat writers) can talk about defensive adjustments against the Thunder, but Miami has NO answer for Westbrook. Ibaka was subpar. Harden was foul prone and a non-factor. Sefolosha was average offensively and they still put up 105. Miami just doesn’t have the personnel to lock down OKC’s scorers. Lebron and Battier can only guard so many people and they are going to get tired playing so many minutes.

    Miami should win a couple of games, but I see it playing out like last year: being outplayed by a superior TEAM.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:54 AM

      You did see my prediction for this series, right? Thunder in 6. Was up Sunday morning.

      And the Heat could slow Westbrook if it were just Westbrook, but it’s Westbrook and Durant and Harden that starts to overwhelm them.

      • passerby23 - Jun 13, 2012 at 6:30 AM

        I’m sorry, did you respond to any of the points I just made?

        Yeah, I read your prediction and agreed with 6 games, but I’m correcting you on every article that says “Lebron’s critics are misguided, he’s very clutch.” I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: you MUST be able to make big jump shots in crunch time against great team defenses who take away what you want to do. Boston, a quality defensive team, didn’t have the ability to do that. The Thunder do just as Dallas did last year. I’m not one who says Lebron isn’t clutch because he hasn’t won a championship, but he hasn’t won a championship because he has never developed the confidence to repeatedly come down the floor in the 4th quarter and bury contested jump shots like Kobe, Durant, Jordan, etc. I get that his microscope is bigger than anyone else in the league, but you can’t psychologize people out of their feelings for him. We’re critical of him because he invited this with The Decision, the promise for multiple championships, the pep rally, and so on. You can say he apologized for all that stuff, but only to try and save face. People can see through that and it can’t be made up for with insincere words.

        Anyway, Harden was a complete non-factor last night and I believe he CAN be contained by the Heat. I think it’s a given that Durant will get his, but Westbrook is a nightmare matchup for Miami.

      • gmsingh - Jun 13, 2012 at 7:25 AM

        Yes, I feel sorry for the Heat–the competition is too tough! Can’t somebody take pity on LeBron and just let him win–he has all those MVPs and money and stuff!

  17. Chris Ross - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    Man, it’s amazing how much the Thunder have grown over the past year. They just don’t bend mentally and whether they win this series or not, the maturation of this team from top to bottom has been unbelievably impressive. The Heat got ahead but it didn’t matter. This team is unflappable and they seem like the better team so far. It appears like Thunder in 6 or 7 but that could all go out the window in game 2.

  18. mclayton31 - Jun 13, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    Until lebron acquires a job shot, the heat are a slightly better version of cleveland. The only way they win this series is to let bosh do his thing in the post and create offensive opportunities from there. Even then with the unreliable outside shooting of the heat, I still don’t see them getting it

  19. cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    Durant is clutch & the real MVP. What happened to the great defensive stopper, LeBron? He’s so overrated it’s ridiculous!

  20. canehouse - Jun 13, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    dirtybird… u might be the biggest loser that i have ever encountered online… i feel sorry for you and your family. seek help… you need a lot of it.

  21. mungman69 - Jun 13, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    It’s nice to read the comments and no fans are crying about the refs.
    Maybe Bosh is still a little sore but he HAS TO go inside.
    Do you think that Miami can win game 2? They had better.
    Miami looks lost on offense. Is that coaching?
    I don’t care who wins but I would like to see a good series.
    Maybe the Heat settled for jumpers because they were tired.

  22. mclayton31 - Jun 13, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    I miss the old NBA when everyone had a jumpshot. I watched some old games on NBA tv and even the 10th guy off of the bench could score.

  23. aboogy123456 - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    What’s scary about this series for the Heat is that the Heat actually looked like the more poised team coming into this game. Durant was right, they looked really nervous, especially in the first half. Westbrook was missing everything and Wade gave him space, but kudos to him for deciding to attack the basket like crazy, Wade had no chance. now the thunder will be more comfortable in game two and play even better.

    A lot of the posts are saying how this game shows Durant is better than lebron but that’s really not true. The heatt are just not that good of a team and just because they are in the finals it doesn’t mean they are the second best team in the league. If lebron guards durant, westbrook goes off, and if he guards westbrook, durant goes off. I don’t like lebron but I think he’s getting unfair criticism, he just gets no help at all from his team and there is always a matchup that the thunder can exploit in miami’s defense.

  24. hannsta - Jun 13, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Idk but I feel like Im the only one who really likes Westbrook. The passion and energy he plays with is very exciting to watch not to mention hes a ridiculous athlete making it painfully clear that the ever aging dwayne wade isnt what he used to be. On top of that, this playoffs, I feel he has really grown up as a player. While he still chucks a lot of shots, which as time goes on will be become more and more consistent, he now seems to recognize that they just arnt falling and instead starts to step up his passing. While he may not seem like a true point guard, his passing and court vision are actually very good and the ability to change his game in the playoffs based off whats working and what isnt, is a very admirable quality. He cant be undervalued for this thunder team, the energy he brings is obviously contagious and the heat could use a similar influence.

  25. dirtybird2020 - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Thanks i take that as a compliment! I love watching lebron choke like every year, and his fans still stand behind that queer, his fan blow by the way! Ive never been to the finals 3 times and lost all 3, so i guess im not the biggest loser, but ill be dat! Cant wait to rub i in all my boys faces supporting that queer and his coward ways, we gonna be fightin with all the s$&t im gonna be talking to bad noones really my size, i guess me and lebron have one thing in common, minus the coward stuff and crying in mid season last year! Lbj hater for life!

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