HEAT 85 - Thunder 97 Game Recap
Photo Credit: Layne Murdoch
The Miami HEAT fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 97-85 Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. James Johnson led the way for the HEAT with 18 points.
1. James Johnson Provides a Spark Again
James Johnson gave Miami a boost in the first half much like he did in the third quarter against the Raptors. In fact, the 29-year-old tallied 10 points, two boards and two blocks through the first two quarters on Monday.
One of his best plays during the flurry occurred with a little over 30 seconds left in the first quarter. It was at that point when Johnson grabbed the defensive rebound, hit the turbo button at half court and converted the and-one finish over Joffrey Lauvergne.
Shortly thereafter, the versatile forward made his presence felt on the defensive end too. With 11:25 to play in the second quarter, he swatted Jerami Grant at the rim, which led to a three on the other end for Josh Richardson.
As the game progressed, Johnson continued to run the break and get to the rim. In addition to his 18 points, he also amassed six rebounds and a team-high plus-15 rating.
2. Reed Brings Energy
With Hassan Whiteside struggling a bit, Willie Reed got some extended playing time against Oklahoma City. Throughout the night, the 26-year-old remained active around the rim and had a few tip-ins for the HEAT.
Reed also made a fantastic play in defensive transition. With 2:50 to go in the third, the big fella ran the floor after turning the ball over, measured-up Alex Abrines’ shot and spiked it out of bounds to make amends.
In all, Reed tallied 11 points, four rebounds (three offensive) and two blocks in 17 minutes of action.
3. Babbitt Aggressive Early
With the Thunder closing out hard on the perimeter, Luke Babbitt took advantage off-the-dribble in the early going. He hit his defender with the little shot-fake quite often, and that’s all it took to get them off their feet. Later in the contest, Babbitt started to knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers as well.
On the flip side of the ball, the Nevada product did a commendable job when switched onto Russell Westbrook.
Babbitt finished with 11 points on 50 percent shooting, four rebounds and a steal.
-Despite being down, Tyler Johnson kept plugging away on Monday night. The 24-year-old scored 10 points, grabbed four boards and stole the ball twice.
-Derrick Williams received his first minutes of the season in the fourth quarter and tallied one rebound.
-Wayne Ellington (right thigh contusion) sat out.
Miami will now return home and hit the practice court before facing the Bulls on Thursday at 8:00 PM. Tickets for that explosive matchup can be found here.