Game Recap

0 Lead changes in the game, which was almost turned around with a furious late charge by the Thunder

5 Blocked shots for Serge Ibaka on the night, part of nine for the Thunder

7 Assists for Russell Westbrook tonight in addition to 27 points

8 Rebounds for Kendrick Perkins, a team-high, including four on the offensive end

9 Steals for the Thunder tonight, including two each by Kevin Durant, Thabo Sefolosha and Derek Fisher

21 Points for James Harden on the night, including 17 in the first half

29-22  Scoring margin in the Thunder's favor in the fourth quarter, which just wasn't quite enough to erase the Heat's 11-point lead to start the quarter

32 Points for Kevin Durant on the night on 12-for-22 shooting, including 26 in the second half

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
The Thunder has always had a never-say-die attitude, and in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, that spirit nearly pulled off what would have been an incredible comeback.

Unfortunately a Kevin Durant shot with 12 seconds remaining that would have tied the game just barely missed, giving the Heat a 100-96 victory and the Thunder a number of things to think about as it heads to Miami for Game 3 on Sunday. Head Coach Scott Brooks' club trailed by as many as 17, but nearly erased an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit with a massive late charge.

"In the fourth quarter we just fought and kept battling, kept fighting, kept giving ourselves an opportunity," Brooks said. "We came up short, but it wasn't short because of the effort, it was just short because we got down 17."

The defense really picked up in the fourth quarter, when the Thunder forced Miami into five turnovers while also attempting eight more shots than the Heat thanks to three offensive rebounds. The Thunder, led by the defensive fervor of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, was able to score eight points off those Heat turnovers while also racking up seven fast-break points. Those two stats, according to Westbrook, were the manifestation of the defensive intensity that helped give the Thunder a chance.

"We weren't taking the ball out (of the net) every time down the court," Westbrook said. "We were getting stops, getting down in transition and playing our game. It's tough to do that when you start off a little slow, you fall back and try to get the game at the end."

Regardless of the furious comeback that fell just short, team leaders like Durant look at the first quarter start that saw the Thunder trail 18-2 early and go into the second quarter down by 12. Brooks and his coaching staff will be looking at the first six minutes of the game to see what the team could do better, while Durant and his teammates said that their focus, effort and toughness needs to be better in the first quarter of Sunday's game.

"That was the game, we can't start off down 18-2," Durant said. "The thing about it though is I think we got some good looks. We missed a few chippies and lay-ins. But we can't get down that much, especially at home. We have to correct it. We have to stay positive, that's the whole deal and we have to come ready in Game 3."

The series is now tied 1-1, with home court advantage shifting in Miami's favor. While the broader circumstances of the series may be a focus for those outside the Thunder locker room, the team is solely concerned with how it plays in Game 3. Veteran and Finals-tested guard Derek Fisher said that the Thunder knows what lies ahead, but it serves no one to look past the next task. Brooks' squad has done a good job all season of staying in the moment, and that attitude won't change this weekend.

"We're just worried about Sunday for now," Fisher said. "Trying to bundle the three games together doesn't do anything for you. You can't win Games 4 and 5 on Sunday. We just focus on the next game in front of us and give ourselves an opportunity to go in there, play a solid game and put a good, quality 48 minute game together."

Turning Point:
There were two turning points in this game, the first of which came within the first couple minutes of the game. The Thunder trailed 5-2 when the Heat ran off 13 straight points to give themselves an 18-2 cushion with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter. That big burst was sparked by two dunks by Dwyane Wade, a layup by Chris Bosh and a Shane Battier three pointer, which broke open the game and forced the Thunder to play catch-up the rest of the way. Throughout the night the Thunder chipped away, eventually making it a 98-96 Heat lead with the ball in Kevin Durant's hands with 12.3 seconds remaining. The shot didn't go down, and LeBron James knocked in two free throws to seal the win.

Plays the box score won't show, first half…
Big offensive rebound by Kendrick Perkins to start off the game to give the Thunder another possession, then Thabo Sefolosha saves a ball in-bounds to keep possession… Nice box outs from Perkins on both ends of the court then Kevin Durant sinks a pull-up jumper… Durant saves a sure bucket with a block at the rim, then Perkins snags two offensive boards that draw fouls… Serge Ibaka pins the ball off the backboard with a transition block, then Perkins saves a bucket with a smart foul… Perkins sets a strong screen for Harden who buries a three pointer off a Russell Westbrook pass, then Westbrook snags a loose ball to draw a foul… Strong box out by Nick Collison, then Harden slips to the bucket to hit a runner off the backboard... Harden hits Collison, who drops it off to Westbrook for a layup… Harden hits a pretty step-back jumper after getting switched then Westbrook draws an offensive foul on the Heat… Sefolosha slaps the ball out of LeBron James' hands to disrupt a possession… Collison sets a tough screen and Harden uses it to draw a foul while shooting a three… Ibaka blocks a dunk attempt at the rim to end the quarter… Tough offensive board by Ibaka then he draws a foul going back up… Sefolosha with a smart drive and dish to Derek Fisher for a jumper, then Fisher swipes a steal and Sefolosha sneaks back to steal an outlet pass… Good patience from both Durant and Ibaka to wait out double teams then Ibaka swats a shot and Sefolosha gets an offensive rebound to Harden for a layup… Harden and Sefolosha use their length to disrupt a possession, then Sefolosha contests and Durant pulls down a rebound… Ibaka tips an offensive rebound back out, then Harden swings it to Ibaka for a jumper… Durant uses an Ibaka pick to free himself up, then Sefolosha and Ibaka's pressure forces a Heat turnover… Nice two man game between Ibaka and Westbrook as Ibaka gives it back to Westbrook for three… Durant with a big rebound then a nice closeout by Ibaka leads to a Heat turnover… Beautiful slip screen by Durant and Westbrook as Westbrook hit Durant for a slam dunk, then Ibaka wins an important jump ball and Sefolosha makes a transition block… A nice offensive set leads to a Westbrook to Sefolosha corner three pointer, then Ibaka finally reels in a loose board before Westbrook posts up and draws a foul… Great ball movement from Harden, Westbrook and Sefolosha to get Harden a three pointer, then Westbrook drives and draws a foul and Ibaka forces a miss to end the half.

Plays the box score won't show, second half…
Solid defense by Sefolosha and a big board by Perkins, then Perkins sets up Durant for a jumper with a screen… Nice drive and dish by Durant to get Ibaka the ball to draw a foul, then Sefolosha and Westbrook combine to make a steal… Ibaka sets up Westbrook for a three pointer out of an in-bounds play, then Durant gets to his spot on the floor to get himself to the free throw line… Durant comes off a curl and Westbrook hits him for a jumper… Strong team defense forces a 24-second violation, then Westbrook drives and kicks to Durant for a three pointer… Nice ball movement leads to an open shot but Perkins is fouled because he has good position… Westbrook drives and gets to the cup for a lefty layup… Quick hands by Sefolosha and good hustle by Perkins leads to a run out for Durant… Perkins gets tough underneath after a dump-off from Harden to put in a layup, then Harden's defensive board leads to a driving foul… Harden tips a rebound to Westbrook who takes it down court for a layup, then Harden makes a steal… Westbrook knocks down a midrange jumper quickly to get a two-for-one opportunity… Westbrook sizes up his defender and knocks down a jumper, then Collison takes a big charge in the lane… Harden swings the ball to Durant for three after getting a screen from Collison then Durant boxes out grabs the board for a transition dunk… Collison with a huge defensive rebound after a box out, then Harden takes it to the cup for a layup with a Euro-step… Nice two-man pick-and-roll from Westbrook and Durant to get Durant to the free throw line… Collison uses his length to make a steal that leads to a Durant to Westbrook fast break lefty layup plus the foul… Beautiful off-ball action by Collison to set up Harden for a rim run layup, then Westbrook hits Durant in the corner for a three… Westbrook makes a big rebound then Ibaka swats a shot to regain possession… Westbrook gets to the cup for a bucket through contact then Durant's length makes a steal… Durant makes another steal and then Westbrook follows it up with an amazing put-back at the rim… Westbrook and Sefolosha combine to make an incredibly important offensive rebound… A quick bucket by Durant out of the in-bounds play gives the Thunder new life then Harden makes a steal and Durant hits a three pointer… Great job of contesting by Sefolosha and Westbrook snares the rebound to get possession back.

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