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Thunder beats Heat 96-85 for signature win

When it came to substance, the Thunder showed it had plenty, using it to survive the Heat, 96-85, before a nationally televised ESPN audience and a raucous sellout crowd of 20,083 inside American Airlines Arena.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: March 16, 2011 at 10:00 pm •  Published: March 16, 2011

We just try to make teams shoot a lot of difficult shots.”

The Thunder wasn't just dialed in defensively. It was also stubborn.

When Wade brought the crowd to its feet with a driving, spinning, two-handed dunk over Perkins, it sparked a 13-2 run that pulled Miami within a tie at 43-all with 1:07 left in the first half. For a moment, the Thunder looked shell shocked, going 0-for-3 with three turnovers immediately following the surge.

But Eric Maynor hit a 3-pointer before Wade capped the half with a driving layup to make it 46-45 at the break.

The Thunder never trailed in the second half. The Heat shot just 10 of 34 (29.4 percent) in the final two quarters. Wade and James went 4-for-18 over that span, with seven of their combined 16 second-half points coming at the foul line.

“We were really locked in for the majority of the game, and that's what we're getting now that we didn't get earlier in the year,” Collison said. “But the last few weeks have been a lot better with everybody being locked in and quick to help. We're so much better when we play that way.”

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting, adding seven rebounds, six assists, a steal, a blocked shot and some tremendous defense on James. Durant's step-back jumper over James put the Thunder ahead 91-80 with 2:43 remaining. The picturesque move pretty much served as the nail in the coffin.

“It was an impressive win tonight,” Perkins said. “We dug in deep. This was probably one of our better defensive games tonight just as a unit.”

Mayberry: Thunder makes statement Wednesday's box score

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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