Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder Roll in Game 1
Durant went off for 36 points on 12 of 20 shooting in his NBA Finals debut which included a thunderous dunk over Chris Bosh. Not bad, right? Yeah, that’s 2nd most all-time to Allen Iverson’s 48 points. Another guy you might have heard of, Michael Jordan had 36 in his debut as well.
Russell Westbrook and KD put on a second half clinic outscoring the entire Heat squad by themselves 41-40.
Westbrook’s flirted with a triple-double with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. The Beard, aka James Harden scored a measly five points in 22 minutes, and wasn’t really a factor in this game. That in it of itself makes the win even more impressive for the Thunder.
Durant and Westbrook provided the scoring punch but Thabo Sefolosha’s importance cannot be overstated. His defense on LeBron James in the fourth quarter relieved Durant of the burden so he could focus on scoring. That worked well.
James had his best Finals performance ever topping his 23 point NBA Finals mark with 30 points and 9 rebounds. He had seven points in the 4th quarter.
This game more about the Thunder rising to the occasion down the stretch than James and the Heat choking. Give the young-guns some credit. They simply outplayed the Heat down the stretch and Miami will have to make some serious adjustments in Game 2 if they want to even his series.
First off, Chris Bosh needs more minutes. He needs to start in Game 2. If he’s healthy, play him. Plain and simple.
Secondly, the fact that OKC scored 56 points in the paint means they need to tight up defensively and do a better job of limiting penetration, especially from Russell Westbrook.
I think they need to go deeper to their bench as well. Apparently James Jones was battling migraine headaches, but they could have used him and a dose of Norris Cole to keep Wade and James a little more fresh down the stretch.
Finally, OKC outscored the Heat 24-4 on fast breaks. That’s a glaring stat considering that’s where Miami usually has an advantage. They need to push the tempo, and get out in transition and play their game.
All that said, the Thunder just look like the better team. They’re younger, deeper, more athletic, and they believe their time is now. They might be right.
It’s only one game, and I still think this series will go six or seven games, but the Thunder are 9-0 at home this postseason and if they push that number to 10-0 with a Game 2 win on Thursday, LeBron James and the Miami Heat are in serious trouble.
Follow Aaron Kirn on Twitter @AaronKirn
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