And just like that, it was over. If life in South Beach is a cabaret, the Thunder were definitely old chum tonight, chewed up and spit out and left to dry until next year. Down ten at the half, it was manageable; down twenty-four after three, it was well-nigh impossible. The white flag went up with 4:44 left, and the Heat won the whole ball of wax in decisive fashion, 121-106. And just to underscore the point, LeBron James posted a triple-double: 26 points, 13 assists, 11 rebounds.
Not that King James had to do it alone. Three teammates broke the 20-point mark, and two others logged double figures. (Scariest: Mike Miller, who hit 7 of 8 from beyond the arc and two free throws for 23, though he inexplicably missed all three of his shorter shots.) The vaunted Big Three, with 70 points among them, justified their vaunt. Miami shot 52 percent, 54 percent on treys. And if you want a telltale statistic, here’s one: the Thunder blocked only three shots all night. Dwyane Wade did that much by himself.
And when OKC wasn’t failing to defend, they were failing to make shots. The Heat weren’t allowing points in the paint, and shots from the periphery weren’t falling. (Twenty-eight tries for three points, eleven successes, and almost half of them came when it didn’t matter anymore.) Russell Westbrook, scourge of defenders and critics two nights ago, put up a meek 4-20, though he did drop in 11 free throws. Kevin Durant outscored everyone with 32 points, and still finished -23 for the night. James Harden came to life, which made people ask where he’d been. It was that kind of evening.
Then again, if you were here when this team was going 3-29 well, as the Academy Award losers say, it’s an honor just to be here. And it is. Now to figure out a way to get back.