Kevin Durant scored 36 points and grabbed 8 rebounds on Tuesday night to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a Game 1 win over the Miami Heat, 105-94. 17 of Durant’s game-high 36 points came in the fourth quarter, where Oklahoma City was able to pull away from Miami, who was leading for most of the game. Russell Westbrook nearly had a triple-double with 27 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds, and he was also excellent in the fourth quarter. For Miami, Lebron James scored 30 to go along with 9 rebounds, but he was just outplayed by Durant in the fourth quarter, and that is what decided this exciting and energetic game. Let’s hope that the rest of the games in this series will be just like Game 1, because tonight we saw an instant classic.
First I will talk about Oklahoma City and then Miami. Durant and Westbrook were just awesome in this game and they can’t play much better. Defensively, OKC was also very good and they were able to hold Miami to only 40 second half points. Role players also stepped up tonight for the Thunder, and they may not be the ones who you would expect. James Harden, who won the sixth man of the year award, only finished with 5 points, but other role players did have big impacts. The sixth man for OKC tonight was clearly Nick Collison. Collison has been a great hustle guy for this franchise for many years, and he even had good stats to go with his hustle tonight, finishing with 8 points and 10 rebounds on 4-5 shooting. Though Thabo Sefolosha only had 9 points, he was the key for the Thunder defensively and did an excellent job on Dwyane Wade and even Lebron James at times. If he can play that well every game on defense, Oklahoma City will win this series.
Miami was led by Lebron James and his 30 points. In last year’s finals Lebron seemed like the “Frozen One” in the fourth quarters. He did not really play like that tonight, but he just wasn’t the special player that he usually is and he let Kevin Durant take over offensively. Even though Lebron could have played a little better, he really needed more help from his teammates. Dwyane Wade only had 19 points and 8 assists. They need more scoring from him. Chris Bosh only had 10 points off the bench. I am shocked that coach Erik Spoelstra continues bringing Bosh off of the bench, and it really isn’t working out. I expect Bosh in the starting lineup in Game 2. One bright spot for Miami was Shane Battier, who scored 17 points and made 4 3’s. The Heat should not expect another performance like this from Battier again this series and they will need Wade and Bosh to step up and contribute.
Game 2 of this series will be on Thursday night at 9 PM eastern and I can’t wait for this game. We just got a taste of what this series will be tonight and that taste was both delicious and entertaining. Before this series began, I picked Oklahoma City to win the series in 7 games and I am sticking with that prediction. Some people will say, “Oklahoma City is amazing, this is gonna be a sweep, Miami has no chance!”. Don’t buy that. Miami will come back and win some games in this series and don’t listen to all the overreactions you will hear to Game 1 on TV. This series is not yet over and Miami is still alive and well. However, I do pick Oklahoma City to win Game 2. My score prediction is 98-93 in a very similar and well-contested game.