Thunder 95 - HEAT 97 Game Recap

Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

The Miami HEAT defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 97-95 Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Dwyane Wade led the way for the HEAT with 28 points.

1. Vintage Wade

Throughout his illustrious career, Wade has always risen to the occasion in big games.

Thursday night was no different.

Wade continued to plug away and relentlessly attacked the basket. For certain stretches of the game, both he and Russell Westbrook went back and forth. Throughout the flurry, Wade had a number of gorgeous drives against Oklahoma City and kept pressure on its defense. Let’s also not forget this pretty crossover and silky midrange jumper he converted over Andre Roberson.

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Down the stretch though is where Wade did the most damage. He scored the last eight points for Miami, including a tough floater to tie the game at 95 and two clutch free throws to give his team the lead for good. In addition to his 28 points, Wade also had four rebounds, four assists and a steal.

2. Goran Dragic Kicks It Into High Gear

Dragic had perhaps his best performance of the season against the Thunder. While he drove baseline often to create for his teammates, he also pushed it in transition as usual. Dragic had a few finishes on the break and also generated easy buckets for others. Take for instance a play early on in the second quarter where Dragic ripped Kevin Durant from behind as he was bringing the ball up court. Dragic then passed it behind his back to Justise Winslow, who threw it up ahead to Josh McRoberts for the easy finish.

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While that was great, no play was as impressive as the one he made with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter when he stole the ball from Westbrook driving into the lane. From there, he passed it to Wade ahead of the pack for the two-handed stuff.

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Besides his defense, the Slovenian also found the range with his jumper and remained in control of the offense. In fact, Dragic nailed a step-back 3-pointer over Enes Kanter to start the fourth. In all, Dragic had 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, seven assists and three boards.

3. Chris Bosh Knows Best

After practice on Wednesday, Bosh stated that it would take a team effort to stop Durant and Westbrook.

He was right on the money.

On Thursday night, the HEAT competed very well against one of the best offensive teams in the league. In a game where there were 38 lead changes and no lead more than six on either end, it was going to take one heck of an effort to pull off.

That’s exactly what happened, as Miami made nothing come easy for Oklahoma City and held the juggernaut to just 44.3 percent shooting. In particular, Winslow was everywhere. He guarded Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Dion Waiters throughout the game. The most impressive part of his performance was how poised he looked guarding one of the best players in the game down the stretch.

Other Takeaways:

With the HEAT needing a little jolt of energy in the second quarter, McRoberts answered the call. McRoberts was pretty aggressive early on and knocked down a few in-rhythm, midrange jumpers. He continued that into the fourth, where he scored four of his 12 points. Perhaps we will continue to see McRoberts take advantage when teams play off him expecting the pass. The forward shot 5-of-7 for his 12 points and also dished out four assists.

Game Note: Luol Deng (hamstring) and Amar’e Stoudemire (rehabilitative recovery) sat out.

Game Highlights:

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