Big Win for the Thunder in Game 1 of the NBA Finals
Despite a rocky start, the Thunder came up with a big win Tuesday night, taking game 1 in a 105-94 victory over the Heat.
The Heat started off just as hot as their team name implies they are, with Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers getting some early three pointers. Durant kept the Thunder in the game, though, scoring OKC’s first eight points.
After settling down a bit, Serge Ibaka and Derek Fisher kept the Thunder from being scorched by the Heat. While Westbrook’s shots weren’t falling in the first half, he logged six assists in the first 24 minutes. But the Heat’s perimeter shooting kept them on the high side, and they went into the locker room with a 54-47 halftime lead.
The Thunder emerged from the locker room a new team, though, and showered the Heat with the defense that was missing from the first half. Thabo Sefolosha was all over the court, coming up with two key steals that turned the Thunder’s momentum around.
While LeBron continued to live up to his MVP status, the other Heat players stopped making shots from the perimeter, really messing up their offensive flow. They had to settle for jumpers, whereas Durant did whatever he wanted, from jumpers to fastbreak dunks and of course, a few threes.
The Thunder finally stole the lead from the Heat at the end of the third quarter, making the score 74-73 with just 12 minutes of play left. From there, they never looked back. Scoring champion Durant took over and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter alone, finishing with 36 total.
Although Westbrook missed several shots early on, he finished with an impressive 27-8-11 line. Collison got the ball from Durant for the game-clinching dunk, ending with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
Not surprisingly, LeBron led the Heat, finishing with a total of 30 points. Wade ended with just 19, and Battier and Chalmers, who looked unstoppable in the first half, scored a combined 31 points. Bosh, coming off the bench, scored just 10 points.
OKC obviously outscored the Heat, but they also out-rebounded and made more assists than the Heat. In addition, they only turned the ball over twice in the second half, against a Heat team that is known for forcing turnovers.
The Thunder had an all-around great first game of the NBA finals, but Miami will undoubtedly make the necessary adjustments for game 2. Wade will likely work on his shot, Bosh might start, and the Heat as a whole will probably trap a little more to get the ball out of the hands of OKC’s big three. But since the Thunder have tasted finals victory, they’re not likely to let the Heat get too fired up.
Tune in Thursday night as the Thunder try to beat the Heat in the second game of the NBA finals.