Game Recap: Thunder 96, Heat 85
News and notes following the Thunder’s 96-85 win over the Miami Heat:
- Oklahoma City gets a big one in South Beach for the Thunder’s fifth straight win. It’s the third time this season the Thunder have won five consecutive games. The team is now 8-1 in March, 13-5 on Wednesday nights and 21-6 versus teams from the Eastern Conference.
“This was a good win and I told the guys before the game that I know this is a big game but hey there’s 82
of ‘em,” said Thunder head Coach Scott Brooks. “We couldn’t treat this one any different than we treated the Wizards or as we look at Charlotte on Friday night.”
- The Thunder held Miami to just 85 points, their second lowest output of the season. The Heat shot just 38.5%. Miami’s “Big Three” LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh shot a combined 48% in the first half but just 17% (4-for-24) in the second half.
“We made ‘em shoot some tough shots tonight,” said Thunder two-time All-Star Kevin Durant. “It all begins on defense for us and Perk (Kendrick Perkins), Serge (Ibaka), Nick (Collison) and Nazy (Mohammed) were great tonight.”
“Our defense was as good as we can play tonight,” said Brooks. “We battled the whole game and we defended right from the start. Usually we build on it and it gets better as the game goes along ut tonight we did it from the start and that’s the way it should be. Leave everything out on the floor. Our guys should be proud of the way they competed at both ends.”
- Thunder off to a hot start at both ends of the floor to start the game. The offense cooled off a little toward the end of the first quarter but the defense was outstanding for the entire 12 minutes. Miami was only 7-for-21 (33.3%) and scored just 18 points in the first quarter. The Heat did not score in transition during the last six minutes of the quarter.
“Those guys are tough to stop in transition,” noted Durant. “But we stayed with em and made them miss some shots.”
- A 15-4 Miami run in the second quarter gets the Heat back in the game after Oklahoma City ran out to a 13-point lead.
- Oklahoma City holding on to a one-point lead, 46-45, at the half. The Thunder shooting 40% and the Heat 45.5%. Kevin Durant the only Thunder player in double figures at that point (14). Chris Bosh and LeBron James led Miami at the break with 14 and 13 points. They finished with 21 and 19. Kevin Durant defended LeBron most of the night and James was just 8-for-21. KD was defended by James most of the night and Durant ended up with 29 points on 12-for-21 shooting.
“My teammates put me in great positions to score,” Durant said, “and we made them shoot some tough shots. This is a great win for the Oklahoma City Thunder.”
- Miami starting the third quarter just 1-for-7 from the field and the Thunder out-scoring the Heat in the first half of the third quarter 10-0 in the paint.
- Oklahoma City’s perimeter defense continues to be outstanding. Monday the Wizards were 0-for-9 on 3-pointers, through three quarters Wednesday Miami was 1-for-10. The Heat finished just 3-for-17. The Thunder threes were falling though. OKC went 9-for-20 (45%).
- Miami was just 4-for-16 (25%) in the third quarter.
- An 11-2 run by the Thunder gives OKC a 12-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
- Kevin Durant’s first throw doesn’t come until 5:50 left in the game. He makes both attempts.
- The Thunder bench scores 31 points and grabs 20 rebounds.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON’T SHOW: Kendrick Perkins making his presence felt early forcing Mario Chalmers to alter his shot then miss it, Perkins gets the rebound and gets the ball out quickly to Russell Westbrook who gets the ball to Kevin Durant for a slam...Thunder with outstanding ball movement early, four assists on their first six made baskets...Westbrook again getting into the passing lanes tonight, he knocks a pass away from Miami and into the hands of Serge Ibaka. Ibaka runs the floor gets the ball back to Russ for a slam...Kevin Durant with good defense on LeBron James at the end of the first quarter, Durant stayed down on a pump fake then bothered James into a bad shot that bounced off the back board to end the first 12 minutes...James Harden sets up the back door cut on Mike Miller. Harden fakes toward the perimeter appearing ready to get a hand-off from Nick Collison. Instead Harden turns back to the baseline, drives toward the basket getting a nice bounce pass from Collison and scoring. Harden also picked up a foul on the play...Collison up in Chris Bosh’s face, forcing him to take a bad shot that misses...Harden steps out on D-Wade forcing him to miss a 3-pointer. Miami has missed its first five attempts from long range...Serge Ibaka with great effort to pull in an offensive rebound then throws the ball to to Durant on the perimeter just as Ibaka falls out of bounds to keep a possession alive late in the first half...Collison with another outstanding screen to open the way for Westbrook who gets into the lane for a nifty finger roll basket...Late in the third quarter Eric Maynor fights through a double-team to get a pass to Kevin Durant. Durant then has to do the same thing thing and gets a pass to a wide open Nick Collison who nails an 18-foot jumper...
LAST WORD: “This was a good win for us on the road,” Durant said, “but we still have a long ways to go, just gotta keep working.”
UP NEXT: The Thunder come back home for the longest homestand of the season, six games. It begins Friday night when the Charlotte Bobcats come into Oklahoma City Arena. You can see all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma and listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.