DURANT PLAYS THROUGH FOUL TROUBLE
Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, Kevin Durant picked up his fifth foul.
He stayed in the game and scored 16 of his 32 points after that point, but it changed the Thunder's defense as James Harden primarily defended LeBron James in the fourth.
Durant nearly picked up his sixth foul about midway through the quarter. He was in the middle of a fight for the ball, before finding Russell Westbrook for a basket that cut the Heat's lead to five points, the closest the game had been since the first five minutes of the game.
“It's tough to play with five, play with four in the third,” Durant said. “It's tough but I've got to stay aggressive. I tried to keep my team in it. They believed in me, and we had a chance. It's tough. It's tough to lose that one.”
IBAKA GETS BACK ON THE BLOCKS
After being held without a block for the first time in the playoffs and just the fourth time all year, it didn't take Serge Ibaka long to start making up for it.
Just more than four minutes into the game, Ibaka blocked a Dwyane Wade shot.
By the end of the first half, Ibaka had four blocks, all on Miami's “Big Three.”
He finished with five blocks and nearly had another in the second quarter but was instead called for goaltending on a Chris Bosh shot.
“It's something we can't control,” Ibaka said of some of the calls that went against the Thunder. “We need to do better to play our basketball.”
POSING WITH PERK
Kendrick Perkins normally is the last player to leave the Thunder locker room, and it's usually at least an hour after the game.
Roughly 15 minutes after Game 2, a dapper-looking Perkins was spotted walking briskly down the hallway outside the OKC locker room.
Perkins presumably was still angry about a no-call in the closing seconds when Durant appeared to be fouled by James.
A man in a wheelchair said, “Hey, Perk.”
Perkins smiled at the fan and said, “How you doin'?”
The fan quickly pulled out a cellphone and asked Perkins if he could pose for a photo.
Perkins obliged, with a smile.
NBA AFRICA REPRESENTED AT FINALS
The National Basketball Association's vice-president of development in Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall arrived in Oklahoma City in time for Game 2.
Fall, a former director of player personnel and vice president of international affairs for the Dallas Mavericks, works from the NBA offices on Johannesburg, South Africa.
With players like Ibaka, who is from the Congo, and Thabo Sefolosha, whose father is from South Africa, playing in the NBA Finals, Fall said interest in basketball in Africa is at a high point.
Three Thunder players — Ibaka, Sefolosha and Cole Aldridge — will be in South Africa for the 2012 Basketball Without Borders camp.
Sefolosha attended the 2009 camp there.
“When they come in and talk to these kids and (Ibaka) can say six years ago, he was sitting right there, I think it just makes our job even easier,” Fall said. “I could point to kids in Congo or wherever and say, ‘Hey, look at Serge. He was disciplined, he worked hard and he's on his way.'
“You've got to have role models these kids can look up to.”
BARNES ‘UNDERESTIMATED' DURANT
When Durant was preparing to enter the 2007 NBA Draft, his college coach, Texas' Rick Barnes, made a bold prediction.
He said Durant would be the best player in the world by the time he was 25.
Today, Durant is 23 and already is in that conversation.
“That's my fault, because I underestimated him,” Barnes said.
Westbrook shot 26 times to Durant's 22, dropping the Thunder's record to 25-6, including 7-3 in the playoffs this season, when Westbrook takes more shots than Durant. ... The Thunder didn't score a fast break point until less than four minutes remained in the third and scored the final 10 fast break points of the game. The Thunder outscored Miami 24-4 on the fast break in Game 1. ... The Thunder scored 24 fewer points in the paint than they did in Game 1.
BY RYAN ABER, JOHN ROHDE AND JASON KERSEY