LeBron James, Heat Hold Off Rallying Thunder To Win Game 2, 100-96
The stars shone tonight, as LeBron James had 32 points and eight rebounds, while Dwyane Wade shook off some of his postseason woes by going for 24 and six boards. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant continued his impressive playoffs, scoring 32 points, but didn’t do much else on the glass and missed a game-tying shot in the final seconds.
Whether or not Durant was fouled by James on the shot was the subject of intense debate, but Durant seemingly had no desire to fuel this fire. When asked about the shot, he simply responded. "I just missed the shot, man."
James was then fouled and knocked down two clinching free throws to seal the win for the Heat.
Despite the close score, this game didn’t seem as if it would be competitive early on. The Heat outscored the Thunder 27-15 in the first quarter, including a 20-5 run to start the game. The Heat wouldn’t win another quarter, though, as the Thunder exhibited their trademark resilience in nearly pulling the upset.
In dealing with the Heat’s Big Three, the Thunder likely didn’t expect to be blindsided by Shane Battier’s huge performance. The forward finished the game 5-for-7 shooting from three-point range and 6-for-8 overall, proving to be the biggest X-factor in this game. Chris Bosh also made an impact in starting his first game since an abdominal injury with 16 points and 15 rebounds, including seven offensive.
James Harden, a frequent spark for Oklahoma City throughout the playoffs, couldn’t get a fire lit under his team tonight. While he played exceptionally well, scoring 21 points off the bench, the double-digit deficit that the Thunder faced for the majority of the game was simply too much for one player alone to overcome.
With the loss, Oklahoma City must travel to Miami for three straight games, without the momentum they had prior to tonight. What was seen as a chance to take total command of this series now is nothing more than a lost opportunity, and it’s highly likely that this series becomes much more chippy as the Thunder fight for their lives in the hostile confines of Miami.