HEAT 103 - Thunder 81 Game Recap
Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler
The Miami HEAT defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-81 Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. LeBron James led the way for the HEAT with 33 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Impact Performance of the Game: LeBron James was locked in from the start. James, who had to exit the game early due to a bloody nose, hit his first five shots en-route to an early 12-0 run in the first quarter. James really set the tone during that run with thunderous dunks and great defense on the other end. He shot 15-of-22 in the game and was very efficient as usual.
Dwyane Wade also had a good game, shooting 11-of-17 for 24 points and holding the fort for the HEAT when James went out about midway through the fourth quarter. He also had 10 assists.
The Deciding Run: The HEAT had a 20-8 run early on in the first quarter that set the tone for the game, but the deciding run came in the third quarter. After the Thunder closed the second quarter on a 21-11 run, the HEAT responded with a 16-4 run to go up 70-51 with 7:50 left in the third quarter.
The third quarter essentially is where the last matchup with the Thunder was lost, and the HEAT weren’t going to let that happen again.
Dwyane Wade capped off the run with a steal and vintage move to split the double team and finish the reverse layup. The run made Chesapeake Energy Arena a morgue.
The Thunder would close the third quarter on a 12-1 run, but the HEAT started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to counteract it.
Play of the Game: With 5:56 to go in the game, LeBron James split the double team of Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka and slammed on Ibaka. James was hit twice on the nose, once on the way up and again on the way down, yet he still finished the play. James was on the ground well after the play was over with blood flowing from his nose. He was taken back to the locker room.
Another great play in the game was the aforementioned vintage Dwyane Wade finish in the third quarter. After playing the passing lane and swiping an errant pass from Perry Jones, Wade split the transition double team from Jones and Thabo Sefolosha.
Trend to Watch: After getting beat on the boards two nights ago in Dallas, the HEAT did a nice job against the Thunder on Thursday. The HEAT out-rebounded the Thunder 41-38 and had a few second chance opportunities that were key in some of their scoring runs.
Another trend to watch is the turnover battle. The HEAT did a nice job of forcing turnovers early, but as the game wore on turnovers became a problem for them. Still, the HEAT forced two more turnovers than they had against the Thunder.
The Takeaway: The HEAT defense really came to play tonight. LeBron James and Shane Battier played excellent defense on Durant, as they made it very difficult for him to get clean looks. There weren’t as many in rhythm, off-the-dribble shot attempts like we saw in the previous matchup. In addition, the HEAT had two or three guys collapse on him whenever he drove. As a result, Durant finished the game 10-of-22 with 28 points, including 1-of-6 on 3-pointers.
The HEAT forced the Thunder to shoot just 37.8 percent from the field.
Notes: The HEAT forced a lot of turnovers early on in the game, including nine in the first quarter alone.
Jeremy Lamb, who had a huge game against the HEAT on Jan 29, shot just 1-of-9 for two points.