Oklahoma City Thunder: Great night of defense
On a night when Kevin Durant played as good of a game as you’re ever likely to see, a night when Kendrick Perkins had five dunks, a night when James Harden had 19 points and missed one shot, the most impressive thing on the court was the Thunder defense.
The Thunder beat the Heat 103-87, and because Miami shot the ball so well early, the ultimate Thunder defensive effort was overshadowed. The Heat made 18 of its first 30 shots, a 60 percent efficiency. But Miami was shooting 60 percent and still trailed 60-49.
Miami’s shooting eventually dipped; the Heat finished 33 of 71, 46.5 percent, still respectable. But check out how the Heat got to 87 points.
Three or four times, Miami scored off mad scrambles just before the shot clock expired. The Thunder would tip the ball, for instance, it would bounce around and Chris Bosh or someone would pick it up for a freebie.
Also, three points came on a 60-foot swisher from Dwyane Wade at the end of the third quarter, when with 2.8 seconds left Wade decided to just settle for an open cross-court shot rather than speed the ball upcourt and shoot a contested shot.
Miami also committed 21 turnovers, including four of the first five possessions of the second half, when Miami failed to climb out of an 11-point halftime hole. The Heat’s big three combined for 15 turnovers — Wade six, Chris Bosh five, LeBron James four. The Thunder didn’t give in; every drive, every pass, every shot was contested. And if anything went wrong, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka were on sentry duty to protect the basket.
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