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OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant scores 28 points as Thunder defeats Miami Heat

Kevin Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and tied his season-high with eight assists, Kendrick Perkins added a season-best 16 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder opened a difficult stretch in their schedule by beating the Miami Heat 103-87 on Sunday night.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: March 25, 2012

While the Heat hedged and essentially double-teamed ball-handlers while defending pick-and-rolls, OKC teammates were able to find the open man.

The Thunder finished with 26 assists, one off a season-high.

Kevin Durant nearly pulled off a triple-double with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and did so while guarding either James or Dwyane Wade much of the night.

James Harden had 19 points and six assists off the bench, and Russell Westbrook had 13 points, six assists and three steals.

The offensive difference makers were forward Serge Ibaka with 19 points (8 for 10 from the field) and center Kendrick Perkins with a season-high 16 points (8 for 11).

“Their interior played exceptionally well, both Perkins and Ibaka,” James said. “It was a difficult game.”

When Spoelstra was asked about Ibaka earlier in the day, he spoke solely of Ibaka's defensive presence.

“The way Ibaka guards that rim, it's as dynamic as anybody in this league,” Spoelstra said. “To have three games where you have 10 blocks or more this season, nobody's doing that and it's the amount of shots he changes. It's not the three blocks a game, it's the seven or eight he alters at the rim as well.” After the game, Brooks said of Ibaka: “He's more than just a shot blocker.”

The Thunder led 60-49 at halftime, then managed to survive a shaky third quarter during which:

*OKC missed its first seven shots and was 5 for 19 at one point, yet still led by 11.

*Wade swished a 60-footer as time expired, and the Thunder still led by 11.

*The Thunder shot 30.4 percent (7 for 23) in the period and still played to a 20-20 draw.

What no doubt helped was OKC limiting its turnovers in the third quarter, committing just three that resulted in two measly points.

Wade led the Heat with 22 on just 10 shots. Chris Bosh had 18, and James had 17 points and seven assists.

The teams meet again on April 4 in Miami.