NBA Finals Game 5 at Miami Heat
6 Assists for Russell Westbrook on the night, in addition to 19 points and four rebounds
11 Points for Derek Fisher on 4-for-7 shooting in addition to four rebounds and three assists
11 Rebounds for Kevin Durant on the night, including nine on the defensive end
19 Points for James Harden tonight, including 6-for-6 from the free throw line
23-for-26 Free throw shooting numbers for the Thunder on the night, including 11-for-13 from Russell Westbrook
32 Points for Kevin Durant tonight on 13-for-24 shooting
35-26 Points advantage in the fourth quarter for the Thunder, thanks to good shooting from James Harden and Royal Ivey
44 Bench points by the Thunder, including two each from Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.
GAME IN REVIEW
By Nick Gallo, Thunder Basketball Writer
MIAMI – Relentless energy, effort and teamwork is the staple of the Thunder organization and it exhibited all of those qualities tonight in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately for Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club, those qualities weren’t quite enough to win the series against the Miami Heat, as the Thunder fell 121-106 and 4-1 in the series. While the first four games of the series came down to a few possessions here and there, tonight’s game hinged on a big third quarter run for the Heat. Despite a big second half margin, players like James Harden never stopped scratching and clawing.
"We fought our hearts out," Harden said.
Behind a Finals MVP-winning triple-double by LeBron James and 14 three pointers, all by Heat players not named James or Dwayne Wade, the Heat rode its hot shooting and tough defense to beat the Thunder. Brooks’ squad put in hard work throughout the series to make adjustments, find ways to play better and get easier looks, but ultimately it wasn’t their night or series.
"A lot of things on both ends of the floor didn’t go our way," Brooks said. "But you have to give Miami a lot of credit. They were so aggressive defensively, they were challenging every dribble, they were challenging every shot."
Even though the Heat played so well, the Thunder never backed down or gave an inch. Whether it was taking fouls to prevent easy baskets or executing and making the right pass to open shooters throughout the fourth quarter, the Thunder never gave up. Veteran guard Derek Fisher has a wealth of Finals experience and knowledge throughout his 15-year career, and knew that his teammates would never back down until the final buzzer sounded.
"Until that clock is showing zeroes, you can’t give up and quit during the game," Fisher said. "We just kept fighting until the end. Obviously the score differential was big down the stretch, but until you walk into the locker room and realize your season is over, you don’t accept it."
Towards the end of the game when the outcome was no longer in doubt, the triumvirate of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden stood together with their arms around one another and shared a moment. Three key young members of the core of this Thunder organization stuck together and stood united as a representation of what the organization’s family persona is all about.
"We’re all brothers on this team and it just hurts to go out like this," Durant said. "We made it to the Finals, which was cool for us, but we didn’t want to just make it there. Unfortunately we lost, so it’s tough… I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else. I wouldn’t want to play for any other city. I’m just blessed to be a part of this organization, and hopefully we can get back."
After the trio joined together, each one went up and down the bench and thanked every teammate, coach, training staffer and equipment manager for all their hard work and dedication. This Thunder group has a special bond that will not be broken by one loss or losing a series, and it was clear as the team left the court that it is proud of one another.
"I’m very proud," Westbrook said. "I personally want to thank them for believing in me, the whole coaching staff, organization, fans… The group of guys that we have always sticks together regardless of what happens, win or lose. We all stick together and we want to come back and be better and that’s one thing I love about this team."
Perhaps the best way to sum up the way the Thunder felt after tonight’s loss was a reflection of how the team played as a whole all series long, all Playoffs long and all season long. Brooks and his team were upset, but showed solidarity in the pride they have in one another’s work, effort and heart.
"I just told the guys, we didn’t win a championship this year but they gave a championship effort all season long," Brooks said. "It’s something I’m proud of. I love our guys. I love what they’re about… There’s nothing to be ashamed of. They gave everything they had."
This one turned in the third quarter, when the Thunder cut the Heat’s lead to seven with 7:27 remaining in the quarter. From that point until 3:01 left in the quarter, the Heat went on a 19-1 run that broke open the game. Seven straight missed shots and a turnover did the Thunder in on the offensive end, while Shane Battier hit a three, Chris Bosh hit an and-one jumper and two free throws, then Lebron James and Dwyane Wade knocked down three free throws, James hit a layup and Bosh and Miller both knocked down three pointers. During the stretch the Heat went 5-for-7 from the floor, 6-for-7 from the free throw line and 3-for-4 from the three point line.
"They got hot," Durant said. "You have to tip your hat to them. They came out and played a hell of a series, won four games in a row to take the championship.
Plays the box score won’t show, first half…
Kendrick Perkins contests a shot well and Russell Westbrook comes down with the rebound… Serge Ibaka challenges at the rim, then Kevin Durant takes it down court and draws a foul… Perkins boxes out strongly leading to a Westbrook midrange jumper, then Ibaka makes a block and Durant breaks up a Miami run-out… Good rebound by Perkins that leads to a Sefolosha and Ibaka run out as Ibaka draws a foul… Westbrook pressures Wade then Perkins hits Westbrook who finds Ibaka for a dunk… Durant with a pretty fall away for a jumper, then Westbrook gets to the cup and draws a foul… Durant pulls in a missed free throw then spins baseline and jams one home… Westbrook drives and gets it to Perkins for a hook shot, then Ibaka follows up his own miss and draws a foul… Durant wins a jump ball then James Harden stutter step drives to the basket for a layup… Solid defensive rotations force a Heat turnover, then Nick Collison somehow tips in a miss… Harden drives and drops off to Durant who hits a floater plus the foul… Durant sets a screen to help Westbrook draw a foul, then Fisher reels in a defensive board that leads to a monster dunk by Durant and Harden plays smart defense to force a miss at the end of the quarter… Pretty play out of the timeout as Harden hits Collison who hits Westbrook on a diagonal cut for a layup plus the foul… Great block by Collison down low after recovering, then Westbrook hits Derek Fisher for a three pointer…Durant pulls down a defensive board then kicks it to Fisher for a midrange jumper… Harden drives and draws a foul to knock down two free throws, then Westbrook forces the Heat into a turnover… Harden attacks the middle of the lane and draws a foul, then Ibaka makes a steal that Harden runs out to draw a foul… Ibaka with a block at the rim to save a basket then he sets a screen for Westbrook to set him up to draw a foul on the jumper… Westbrook kicks it out to Durant for a three pointer, then Perkins hauls in a defensive board… Ibaka plays solid defense on LeBron James to force a miss then Durant hits Ibaka for a layup in transition… Ibaka forces James into a wild, contested shot, then Durant hits a bank shot.
Plays the box score won’t show, second half…
Durant knocks down a three-pointer right out of the halftime break, then Perkins tips a rebound to Durant who leads a fast break to get Serge Ibaka to the free throw line… Ibaka snares an offensive board and puts it in with a slam, then Durant blocks a shot… Nice give-and-go with Westbrook and Perkins as Westbrook hits a lefty layup… Good team defense leads to a Harden to Durant alley-oop, then Perkins grabs a rebound that turns into a Durant floater… Westbrook drives to the bucket and draws a foul at the rim… Ibaka with a good contest then Durant hauls in the board before Ibaka tips out an offensive board to Westbrook… Durant drives the lane and hits a floater, then Westbrook takes an outlet pass and races down court for a layup… Westbrook dishes to Durant for a three-pointer, then Westbrook makes a steal and draws a foul in transition… Nice drive and kick-along the baseline by Harden to hit Fisher for a three pointer, then Westbrook hits Harden for a three pointer… Durant snags a rebound and draws a foul, then Durant gets an offensive board and draws a shooting foul… Perfect ball movement by the Thunder leads to a Fisher corner three pointer, then Durant and Collison combine to make a steal resulting in two points for the Thunder… Collison and Fisher contest, then Durant hits a runner… Collison comes down with a defensive board after Fisher contests, then Harden hits a three pointer out of the in-bounds play… The Thunder plays solid defense for 24 seconds to force a shot clock violation… Harden knocks down a three, then Fisher hits Cole Aldrich for a bucket… Harden splits a double team and drives the lane for a layup, then Daequan Cook swings it and hits Royal Ivey for a three… Harden, Westbrook and Durant stand for the end of the game supporting their teammates and leaning on one another.