Shortly after the Thunder toppled Miami in Game 1, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra zeroed in on exactly how the Thunder came back from a 13-point deficit to take a 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals.
“That game was decided by four or five plays,” Spoelstra said. “They made the four or five plays.”
And immediately after Oklahoma City surrendered home-court advantage in Game 2, Thunder coach Scott Brooks pinpointed the problem in his team's loss.
“Toughness lost the game,” Brooks said. “We didn't come out with the toughness that we need to come out with.”
Both coaches were absolutely correct.
A handful of plays, coupled with an inadequate dosage of determination, is what has defined the first two games of this series. The Thunder was on the wrong end of both in Game 2 and, as a result, suffered a 100-96 loss to the Heat at home.
Though a dreadful 18-2 deficit early on plagued the Thunder on Thursday, Oklahoma City still fought to make it a two-point game inside the final minute. And those four or five plays will haunt the Thunder in film sessions from now until tip-off for Sunday's Game 3 in Miami.
Here's a look at the handful of swing plays that cost the Thunder.
1. Chris Bosh offense rebound
The epitome of a hustle play. The most maligned member of the Heat's big three supplied one of the most significant plays of the night. It was an improbable offensive rebound. It came at the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter, with the Thunder clawing back from an 80-69 deficit. Dwyane Wade missed a 19-foot jump shot over Russell Westbrook. The Thunder had four players — Derek Fisher, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Nick Collison — sitting in the lane staring at the ball as it bounced off the rim. Bosh, however, remained active, fighting off halfhearted rebound efforts by Collison, Harden and Durant to keep the ball alive with a tap out to himself. Bosh corralled the board and eventually got fouled out of a post-up to extend the Heat's lead from 11 to 13 with 9½ minutes remaining.
2. Battier bank shot
With 5:03 remaining, Shane Battier, who has torched the Thunder in these first two games, broke the Thunder's back yet again on what appeared to be a broken play. Battier caught a pass from Mario Chalmers at the top of the key with just 3.7 seconds remaining on the shot clock and launched a 3-pointer as Westbrook ran at him. The shot banked in with just two seconds remaining on the shot clock. It gave the Heat a 90-83 lead with 5:08 remaining.
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