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Recap: Thunder throttle Heat 97-85

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Despite a few great offensive stretches, the Heat just couldn’t get it going against the Thunder in a sloppy loss.

NBA: Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

While at times it looked like the Miami Heat could turn this into a close game, it was their inability to score and stop the Oklahoma City Thunder’s offense that caused their inevitable collapse.

The Heat came out firing nicely, sharing the ball often and really utilizing their motion offense. This style of offense definitely benefited Miami’s shooters, as it was Luke Babbitt doing work for Miami in the opening minutes.

On defense Miami looked decent, at least at first. Like Toronto, OKC has a lot of offensive options and they all punished the Heat early on. In fact just four minutes into the ball game all of the Thunder starters had scored, a testament to how well they share the ball.

Despite the Thunder’s offensive attack, Miami managed to hang around and keep the score semi-close. As the quarter progressed, Miami’s defense regressed and OKC built and maintained a solid lead shooting over 70% from the field.

It was James Johnson and the Heat reserves that sparked 13-5 scoring run to get back into the game. The reserves looked great, reenergizing Miami’s defense and in turn slowing down the Thunder at least somewhat.

Midway through the second quarter the pace of the game slowed down significantly, and the Heat went on a significant scoring drought. The Heat had a small surge near the end of the half, but overall Miami’s fist half was forgettable.

The Heat were much better to start the second half with Goran Dragic leading the charge. Nevertheless, Miami’s defensive woes were on full display minutes later as Westbrook came alive and scored eight straight points.

Midway through the third the Heat went through another scoring drought. They were incredibly sloppy on offense and weren’t much better on the defensive end allowing the Thunder to go on a 20-0 scoring run.

Once again, Miami did some positive things in the third (i.e this):

Unfortunately, they still seemed unable to stop the Thunder’s offense.

The fourth quarter was no different. Quite frankly, the Heat were atrocious. They were unable to score offensively, or stop the Thunder defensively. The Heat host Dwyane Wade and the Bulls on Thursday, but judging from this game they have a lot of work to do before then.

Game Notes:

  • The Heat supposedly have a very strong defense, but they were terrible tonight. Miami let the Thunder go 70%+ from the field in the first and just couldn’t stop them at all down the stretch.
  • Whiteside was nonexistent in the first half, and the Heat really struggle when he can’t get involved.
  • Miami’s defensive rotation is very ugly at times. Why the entire team chooses to clog the key and leave three point shooters open is a mystery.
  • Scoring droughts will be the death of this team, you cannot shoot such a low percentage and expect to win.
  • This Heat team has a lot of potential, but when they’re bad, they’re really bad. I swear I had a flashback montage of the Big Three era to maintain my sanity when the Heat went through their second scoring drought of the night.
  • This must be what it feels like to be dunked on by Russell Westbrook.