OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Thunder took a 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals with a 105-94 victory in Oklahoma City. The Heat led by double-digits in the first half but Oklahoma City settled its nerves in the second half and pulled away in the fourth quarter.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Russell Westbrook made a 17-foot jumper with 3:35 to play. It gave the Thunder a 10-point lead.
LEBRON VS. K.D.
Game 1 in the series of the most hyped NBA Finals matchup of all-time goes to young Kevin Durant, who scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 36 points. LeBron James had 30 points, including seven in the final period.
WADE VS. WESTBROOK
While the matchup of LeBron and Durant will get the most attention, the game turned on the play of Russell Westbrook. He had a slow start but responded with 12 points in the third quarter. Westbrook finished with 27 points and two rebounds shy of a triple-double. Westbrook’s counterpart, Dwyane Wade, had 19 points on 7 of 19 shooting.
The Heat basically used six players in Game 1. Chris Bosh, the Heat’s new sixth man, apparently, came off the bench and played 34 minutes. Mike Miller played 10 minutes and Joel Anthony played two minutes. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he plans to get more reserves involved in Game 2.
Shane Battier exploded for 17 points but, in the end, it was all in vain. He was 6 of 9 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point range. While the Heat lost, Battier’s big night was important. The Heat is going to need a consistent three-point shooter if its going to win this series.
FAST MEET FASTER
The Heat prided itself all season on getting up and down the court and scoring in transition. The Thunder outscored the Heat 24-4 in fast-break points. It will be interesting to see how the Heat adjusts. It seems inconceivable that the Heat would counter in Game 2 with a grind-it-out game plan. We’ll see.
The Thunder outscored the Heat 56-40 in the paint.
The Heat is going to have to find a way to slow down the Thunder both in transition and in the final two periods of games. Spoelstra said he plans on working more players into his rotation. Starting Bosh is the most obvious adjustment with either Ronny Turiaf or Joel Anthony coming off the bench. Most importantly, however, the Heat needs more offensively out of Wade.