Sixth Man of the Year James Harden gave the Thunder a much-needed lift in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
OKC trailed the Miami Heat 16-2 when Harden checked in with 5:13 left in the first quarter.
Harden hit his first three shots and scored 10 points in the first period. He finished with 21 points and shot 7 for 11 from the field, including 2 for 3 from 3-point range. He also had four rebounds and two assists while playing 34:53.
Was it too big of a deficit to overcome tonight?
“We had spurts where we played very good Thunder basketball and then we got to our slow start. We can't keep doing that. It only can work sometimes.”
Why do the slow starts keep happening?
“Good question, I don't know. We've done a great job all postseason of having very good starts, especially at home. These last couple games, it's been slow but we'll pick it up in Game 3 (on Sunday night in Miami).”
Everybody seemed to get going for Miami early.
“They have that small lineup, with (Shane) Battier at the 4 and they spaced the floor very well. We have to adjust and be ready to play harder from the beginning in Game 3. I thought we did a pretty good job in the second half of fighting and coming back but it's too late.”
How difficult is it to play against that small lineup?
“San Antonio had a small lineup. It's about us playing hard and not getting off to a slow start. If we do that, we'll put ourselves in a better position to win a basketball game.”
Kendrick Perkins said maybe because the offense was struggling a little bit that it kind of crept over into the defense as well.
“That happens sometimes in our offense. We're not making shots, missing easy layups and it affects our defensive mentality, but our defensive mentality has to be ready if we're not making shots or we're making shots.”
Did you think Kevin Durant got fouled at the end?
“To be honest, I didn't even see the play. I went to go set a screen for Russell (Westbrook) and I look up and the shot's been shot.”