The Oklahoma City Thunder fell victim to the Miami Heat on Thursday night in a 103-81 loss making the season series even between the two teams. LeBron James set the tone early, scoring 16 of the Heat’s first 18 points. The win put the Heat at 39-14 on the season, while the Thunder is now 43-13.
As expected, the media raised questions about whether the Thunder was sloppy because of Russell Westbrook‘s return to the floor. While they were obviously off their game, it had nothing to do with Westbrook. OKC missed shots they usually make and let the Heat score on easy buckets, mostly due to poor transition defense. The Big 3 ran wild all night. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each put up 24 points. Meanwhile, Durant led a Thunder team that was obviously a bit rusty. The Heat had already played a game prior to Thursday. For OKC, it was their first game out of the break.
Despite the loss, Westbrook looked good. He was quick and showed the explosiveness that we have all become accustomed to seeing over the years. He ended up with only 14 points, but he only put in about 24 minutes of action. It was well known that Westbrook’s minutes would be limited, seeing as it was just his first night back after his third knee surgery. He did not take anything away from what the Thunder have been doing over the last month. He just happened to return on a night where it seemed like nothing could go right for the team.
The Heat deserves a lot of credit for doing such a great job of taking advantage of the Thunder’s defensive lapses. James weaved his way through OKC’s defense all night. Wade and Bosh were also on point, making it almost impossible for the Thunder to get rolling. They did manage to close the gap on the Heat a few times, but the veteran Miami team came through big each time OKC made a run.
During the game, James suffered a bloody broken nose as he went up for a dunk. Serge Ibaka clipped James’ nose on the way up to dunk. James still managed to put the ball in the hoop, making for one of the coolest highlights of the season. The Thunder’s loss probably was not as painful as James’ broken nose, but it shows that they will need a little time to figure things out with Westbrook back in the lineup. Ultimately, I know this team will be fine. A loss out of the break could be a good thing for it, but only time will tell as the season progresses.