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Heat unable to keep up with fast paced Thunder

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This game started with an extremely fast pace as both teams scored many of their early points on the fast break.  The Thunder looked to have the edge in the opening quarter, going on a pair of 10-2 runs that accounted for their first 20 points.  Miami was somewhat keeping pace on offense, but defensively they looked stunned by an amazingly quick Oklahoma City team. 

They outscored the Heat 24-18 in the 1st quarter and then started the 2nd on a 7-2 run.  Kevin Durant was leading the way for OKC, doing it both inside and out with dunks and 3-pointers.  Shooting from downtown was becoming an issue as Miami started 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, a few of which were wide open, while the Thunder hit 4 of their first 8. 

With just over 4 minutes left in the half, Russell Westbrook found Kevin Durant for another dunk that got him pretty excited, but that seemed to get under Dwyane Wade's skin.  He got the ball on the other end and made a gorgeous spin move to get around Serge Ibaka, then came down with a colossal dunk over Kendrick Perkins, who fouled Wade but couldn't stop the jam.  The 3-point play brought the Heat to within 8 points of the Thunder.

Oklahoma City had been leading by 13 points with 5½ minutes left, but that's when things changed abruptly.  Miami got back into the game late in the quarter with a 17-4 run that was sparked by some great Heat defense and capped off with a couple of monster dunks by LeBron James.  When halftime finally arrived, Miami trailed by just 1 point, holding the Thunder to 39% shooting.

Chris Bosh led the way for Miami with 14 points and 5 rebounds in the 1st half while LeBron added 13 points and D-Wade dropped in 11, despite scoring just 2 in the opening quarter.  The Heat's comeback trail began when OkC brought Russell Westbrook to the bench, as he was making a big difference for the Thunder on both ends.

Neither team shot the ball well during the 3rd quarter but Oklahoma City was rebounding and running on Miami, which allowed the visiting team to stretch their lead to 5.  The Heat were taking way too many long jumpers, making just 4 of their 16 shots in the quarter and getting away from the pick-n-rolls that they have done so well of late. 

The Thunder started the 4th on an 11-2 run that put them up by 12 points with under 8 minutes left.  Every time the Heat tried to cut into the lead there was some hump they just couldn't get over, whether it be missing an open shot, a dumb turnover or a defensive lapse, like the one that left Rusty Westbrook alone to hit a wide open triple that put them right back up by 12, this time with just over 5 minutes left in the game. 

The Heat began to make what looked like their final push following that trey, scoring 5 straight points, all from the foul line.  OkC then turned the ball over and Mike Bibby fed a streaking Dwyane Wade, who went up with the ball and had his right shoulder grabbed by Serge Ibaka, but there was no foul call.  The Thunder ended up hitting a triple on the other end while both Wade and Erik Spoelstra were hit with technical fouls. 

The T's were much deserved but with good reason as essentially it was a 5-point swing.  Miami was down 7 at the time and Wade should have been going to the foul line, but instead they gave up 5 points on the other end which put the game pretty much out of reach and also took any ‘comeback' wind right out of the Heat's sails.  

GAME NOTES

  • LeBron James made just 8 of his 21 shots, finishing with 19 points, 8 rebounds and just 2 assists. 
  • James only turned the ball over once though, and has just 7 turnovers in his last 4 games. 
  • The Heat dished out just 14 total assists.
  • Mario Chalmers was held scoreless, taking just 1 shot in 21 minutes. 
  • Miami shot 3-for-17 from beyond the arc and 38.5% from the field while the Thunder shot almost 50% from downtown (9-for-20) and 39.8% overall. 
  • Heat centers played just a total of 19 minutes (Dampier- 5, Anthony- 9, Magloire- 5), combining for 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks, both by Dampier in the opening few minutes. 
  • Chris Bosh picked up his 3rd straight double double with 21 points and 11 boards.  He has also gone 23-for-25 from the charity stripe in those 3 games.
  • The Heat allowed Oklahoma City to grab 17 offensive boards.  That's just unacceptable. 

Miami now will hit the road for the first time in 2 weeks.  They will play at Atlanta on Friday before returning home for the Nuggets on Saturday.