The idea, perhaps, was to let LeBron have his way and key in on everyone else. (Jenni Carlson recommended exactly that.) Well, LeBron had his way, but so did everyone else, as the Heat jumped out to a 32-17 lead after the first quarter and kept the Thunder at bay the rest of the way, taking a 110-100 victory back to South Beach.
Both King James and Chris Bosh had double-doubles, though LeBron’s seemed so much, um, doubler: 39 points, 12 rebounds for James, 20/12 for Bosh. Dwyane Wade racked up 13 before fouling out. But singling out the stars is unfair to the Heat, since everyone — possibly excepting Joel Anthony, who played only a couple of minutes — played seriously hard and executed extremely well. Miami even gathered the majority of the rebounds (46-35), which is not ordinarily their strong point. And while the Heat’s 11-29 mark from beyond the arc is iffy percentage-wise, it’s still 33 points. (OKC went 3-13 from downtown.)
This hardly seems like the sort of situation in which Kevin Durant would go off for 40, but he did exactly that, playing 47:32 out of a possible 48, leaving after his sixth foul. Russell Westbrook was up to snuff and then some, scoring 26 and serving up ten assists. But nobody else made double figures, and the entire OKC bench managed only 16 points. Worse, Serge Ibaka blocked no shots. (The Thunder had only five blocks, three by Durant.) OKC went 33-34 from the foul line — in case you were wondering, James had three fouls, and was rung up for a technical after complaining about one of them — but they only made 32 shots from the field.
One likes to hate the Heat with the same passion with which one despises, say, the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees; but tonight, the hate is displaced by awe. And it’s the All-Star break, so I’m going to bed early.