Early in the fourth quarter, there had been thirty lead changes, and there would be more. Double-digit leads? Not tonight. Long unanswered runs? Forget it. This game could only be closer if the players were joined at the hip. With two minutes left, Miami was up 93-92; Kevin Durant splashed a trey to put the Thunder up by two. It took a while, but Dwyane Wade answered with a bucket to tie it at 95 just inside the 30-second mark. Another KD trey went awry, and with 1.5 seconds left, Wade dropped in two free throws to put Miami up 97-95. There would be no further lead changes. (The record for lead changes in a single game: 40; tonight we saw a mere 38.)
Both sides played a lot of small ball: Hassan Whiteside played just 28 minutes, Steven Adams only 20. The stats were back and forth: Miami shot 49.4 percent, OKC 44.9; OKC gathered more rebounds, 44-35; but Miami did more assisting, 25-15. Wade led all scorers with 28; Durant and Russell Westbrook knocked down 25 each. I was hoping at some point that the Miami PA would have found some time for Archie Bell and the Drells doing the Tighten Up, because, let’s face it, it’s hard to get much tighter than this.
So the two-game road trip ends 0-2, and it’s back to the in-out-in-out that prevailed earlier in the season. Sunday the Kings come to town; it’s off to Memphis on Tuesday, followed by a Thursday/Friday back-to-back, at home against Atlanta and then off to Utah. I’m not sure what Billy Donovan is thinking, but I’m betting some of it is along the lines of “How come Dion Waiters is so jive for three quarters and then suddenly gets hot in the fourth?” Then again, given the way the last few games have gone, getting hot in the fourth is something the Thunder need a whole lot more of.