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Dominant LeBron helps Heat cruise to win over Thunder

Feb 14, 2013, 11:39 PM EST

Miami Heat's James drives in the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Miami

The Heat had little trouble taking care of the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Thursday, getting out to a big lead early and cruising to a 110-100 win behind yet another dominant performance from LeBron James.

When things did begin to tighten just a bit in the fourth quarter, James made certain to hit big shot after big shot down the stretch, ensuring that the Thunder never got close enough to truly threaten the game’s ultimate result.

Miami led by 15 after one, 17 at halftime, and 19 at the end of the third quarter. The Heat jumped on OKC early, and were aided by a slow start from Kevin Durant, who missed his first seven shot attempts. By the time he really got going and scored 22 in the fourth on the way to a game-high 40, the deficit was too much to overcome.

Durant took a nasty fall in the first half, but remained in the game and seemed unaffected by it as things progressed. His huge fourth quarter was only overshadowed by James either making the shot to end the Thunder run time and again, or running the offense to perfection and setting his teammates up to do the damage instead.

Miami made only eight of its 22 attempts from the field in the fourth, but at least five of them were demoralizing buckets that were made with impeccable timing to momentarily slow a surge from OKC. Three of those came from James, including a couple of difficult buckets as the shot clock was winding down, and an alley-oop right at the rim off of an out of bounds play from under the basket.

Russell Westbrook finished with 26 points, but did most of his damage in the first half while Durant was still finding his way. He was just 2-8 from the field for six points over the final two periods, while playing just about the entire second half.

No other Thunder player finished in double figures, which may be the team’s downfall at some point in the postseason if it can’t find other players to consistently produce offensively.

This game was more about where these two teams are at this point in the season, though, than it was about making any kind of lasting statement.

The Thunder have been up and down lately, and have a record of just 7-6 in the team’s last 13 games. Miami, meanwhile, enters the All-Star break riding a seven-game winning streak, highlighted by a dominant stretch of performances from James.

Speaking of streaks, LeBron’s historical one that had him string together six straight games with 30 or more points while shooting at least 60 percent from the field ended in this one, though it very easily could have continued. James was true to his word, and played the game without worrying about his individual statistics, shooting tough shots that were heavily contested, as well as jumpers from distance — including a long three-pointer with just over a minute remaining and his team leading by 10 — that really weren’t necessary.

The Thunder will tell you they played awful for most of the night, and still closed the gap to a manageable deficit, only to have the best player in the game make tough shots to keep them at bay. And that’s true to a certain extent; maybe things would have been different had OKC not fallen behind by so many points so quickly.

The Heat, however, know that they’re playing the league’s best basketball right now. When they are engaged defensively from the opening tip as they were on Thursday, and with James continuing to dominate the way he has over the past seven games, they’re virtually unstoppable.

  1. eventhorizon04 - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    Also, the officiating was mostly terrible.

    Not alleging bias for or against either side, I just felt the refereeing was awful all around. The referees alternated at random between calling the game tight and letting things slide, which clearly frustrated players on both sides.

    Wade and Durant both finished with 6 fouls, with Wade “fouling out” on a very ticky-tack call.

    Durant and James both were called for technical fouls, as were 2 more OKC players – Jackson and Collison. Westbrook came close to a technical a couple of times too.

    Both coaches looked like they were ready to strangle the referees at different points.

    It was the rare game in which one team has a significant free throw advantage – OKC had 12 more free throws than the Heat and was called for 6 fewer personal fouls, despite intentionally fouling the Heat in the final minute of the game – yet neither side is satisfied with the referees.

    • pantsfreezone - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      The refereeing was the only thing that kept OKC even remotely close. Some of those touch fouls were absolute garbage especially the few after Durant fell to the ground ON HIS OWN. Garbage calls or this was an easy 40 point Miami win.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:46 AM

      Note to OKC fan, do not taunt the King, he will torch you.
      Scott Brooks won’t win the Title for OKC.
      LeBron James is out of this world……………………

      The ref situation is the worst, does D.Stern think this will just go away.
      You have too many old, slow white guys in the wrong position.
      I almost broke my TV watching Knicks Raptors.

    • miamatt - Feb 15, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      You took the comment right out of my keyboard. Neither team got a real advantage out of it, but I just hate the way this game was officiated.

      On a side note, OKC needs to do a better job of keeping their composure with regards to the referees. Miami has been called a whiny bunch but SHEESH they can’t hold a candle to OKC in that regard these days.

  2. WatchThis - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    So, does Lebron now have the record for number of games shooting 30+ points and 58%?

    • southbeachtalent - Feb 15, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      probably..

  3. BigBeachBall - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Its a wrap…

  4. thechock305 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Man how terrible, 58%? Your losing it LeBron. Lol.

    • WatchThis - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      He must be in his decline, of course.

  5. funktron2x - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    No knock on KD, but anyone watching can see who the mvp is. LeBron does everything well and almost everything elite. KD is in the discussion, but he’s not there yet.

  6. rickyspanish - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Beat down.

  7. badintent - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    LBJ. Man playing with boys

    • cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:54 AM

      & PEDs

      • jt1138 - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:32 AM

        Really, cantonbound13? You’ve got nothing left to say so you resort to steroids? Just give it up already. LeBron is the best in the game.

      • miamatt - Feb 15, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        ^^^^^^
        Don’t feed the troll.

      • cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Jt & Moronmatt, you guys can’t be that stupid. LeBron is 260, zero body fat comming out of high school & balding. All pro sports now a days is littered with Hgh & other PED’s. Wake up! I know you love the guy but please.

      • badintent - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        When I see LBJ play , I see a guy that look like Karl Malone , only dribbles much better and can take the 3. No one ever called for Malone to be tested. If you look at their stats and film, played a similar game. With Karl on the block more in his career, but now LBJ is shooting much more in the paint. Same height and weight. Both balding early, but Malone did Rogaine commercials for a while.Saw Karl last year and he’s still 6’9″ and around 250. His daughter can beat your ass balling too.

  8. drunkenjunk - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    you could probably hand miami the title now, get it over with.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:48 AM

      why, I still want a crack at them with knicks.

      • hehateme2 - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:44 AM

        ROFL!! Thanks!

  9. cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    Speaking of cruising, Mickey Arrison is a fitting owner for the Miami Heat. Talk about no class & scum. He’s seen at a Heat game laughing & having a good time while his garbage cruise ship is stranded at sea with 4,200 innocent people trapped for 5 days surrounded by sewage. Not only are the fans classless, the owner is one of the most disgusting people on earth.

  10. bucrightoff - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    It’s unfortunate for LeBron (though obviously his own doing) that something off the court (Decision) is the only reason people won’t say he’s well on his way to being the best of our generation. If you just watch him play, how can you say otherwise?

  11. miamatt - Feb 15, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    It’s official: Miami owns OKC.

    Big Bro done let ‘em know.

  12. southbeachtalent - Feb 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    This LeBron guy might not be a choker after all??

    • cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      He got that label for his lack of clutch play in the post season, not regular season. Much like A-Rod in baseball.

      • rawgator06 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        I know. Remember when LeBron let his team down against the Celtics last year in the postseason and Miami was knocked out of the playoffs?
        Me neither

      • southbeachtalent - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        No, he got that label from people who lack vision. And of course just plain ole haters.. I think you and most of the “sports writers” fall under both. PED’s??? your reaching and its pathetic.

        What’s Melo’s rep in the post-season?? I guess you can’t judge him yet, he hasn’t even sniffed an important game.

      • thenmoveback - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Yeah this guy knows nothing about basketball but how to trash talk, and he is not even good at that. Just because you don’t like a player doesn’t mean he isn’t good. I hate the C’s but I damn we’ll know PP and KG are great players. LBJ is on peds, he isn’t clutch, he is not as good as MJ, they have bandwagon fans… Blah blah blah shut up and respect greatness fool.

      • cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Why so much hate to New Yorkers, move back? Did a New Yorker repossess your trailer? Did a New Yorker take your job at McDonalds? Did a New Yorker steal your girlfriend/sister? What’s the problem move back?

      • cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        Clutch meaning making a big shot at the end of a big game. Example: MJ over Ehlo & Russel. Name a time when James hit the big shot in a big game (6-9 career Finals record)
        I admit he had an amazing game 60 against the ancient Celtics. A 27 year old on PED’s is no match for 35 year old players.
        @ Southbeach, Moronmatt, : I’m sorry but I just simply state facts. You guys are just way too sensitive & a bunch of homers. I’ll be the first to admit Carmelo hasn’t done anything in the postseason & needs to prove he can. You guys are just blind homers that don’t expect much out of life I guess. Says a lot about you guys.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals vs. Orlando. Go ahead and Google it. Click on Video. Is Lebron’s hitting a 3 at the buzzer to win a conference final game by one point a good example of what you’re talking about?

        And that was just off the top of my head.

      • cantonbound13 - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        72! Where have you been? Haven’t heard from you in a while & you reply with a last second heave by LeBron, really? That was more luck than skill, you’re better than that 72!
        I was worried you might have been stuck on Mickey’s sewage ship. Good to see you’re still around.

      • badintent - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        @cantonbound13
        I’M A NEW YORK KNICK FANS SINCE 1969. YOU ARE AN EMBARRASMENT TO KNICK NATION. I RESPECT ALL GREAT PLAYERS THAT PLAY GREAT AND ACT EVEN BETTER OFF THE COURT.JERRY WEST GAME ME 15 MINUTES OF HIS TIME TO TALK ABOUT HIS WEST VIRGINA ROOTS. SUPER CLASSY GUY. LISTEN, LEARN AND GROWUP

  13. thenmoveback - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Haha I have no problem with New Yorkers, in fact I love the rivalry, just a problem with load mouth fools who claim to know everything about basketball when in fact they post the most unintelligent comments. And just so u know I have a good job, a college degree, and work hard, probably half ur age with money in the bank. Now go back to thinking u know everything about everything in the world ur highness.

    • cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      It’s your highness. I’d like to see proof of that degree you speak about.

  14. thenmoveback - Feb 15, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Sorry your HIGHness. But of course you want proof, with all the lying you do on this site you can’t trust anyone huh? But whatever gets you through your miserable days trolling the web posting your “facts”.

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