Scott Brooks might have yelled “Doesn’t anybody know how to play this game?” Actually, he might not have, since he’d already been T’d up once already tonight. But the Thunder’s execution tonight was, to be charitable, inconsistent, and while they managed to creep out to a ten-point lead briefly in the third quarter, things unraveled quickly after that, culminating with a four-minute dry spell midway through the fourth. But this being a Thunder game, there’s always a rally, and OKC put together a 6-0 run (in 45 seconds!) to pull within one with a minute and a half left. That was all, though: the Heat knocked down five of six free throws, versus nothing through the net for the Thunder, and Miami goes up 2-1 in the series with a 91-85 win.
Speaking of free throws, isn’t it about time Oklahoma City actually started making a few? They were below par from the stripe in the first two games, but 15 of 24? That’s nine points they gave away. Add to that being outrebounded 45-38, and a wretched 4-22 from beyond the arc, and it’s a wonder they lost by only six.
The Heat, meanwhile, were taking care of business. They weren’t shooting all that well 38 percent, five less than the Thunder but they collected on the fast break (19-12) and cashed in at the foul line (31-35). LeBron James, Mr. Methodical tonight, wound up with 29 points and 14 rebounds; Dwyane Wade picked up 25 more, and Chris Bosh, starting again, logged a double-double of his own, with 10 points and 11 boards.
To some extent, the Thunder did what they could. Kevin Durant, in foul trouble much of the evening, still managed to drop in 25 points; Russell Westbrook checked in with 19, and Kendrick Perkins turned in a Boshlike 10 points and 12 boards. But James Harden’s shooting hand was cold, and Miami expat Daequan Cook, brought in for a couple of possessions, landed a single brick. It was not pretty.
The battle resumes Tuesday in the City of Vice. Methinks the Heat smell blood.