(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
If he keeps playing like he did last night, confetti will rain…
Nice debut for Kevin Durant. Came out hot, kept the Thunder close, never pumped the brakes and waited until Russell Westbrook caught fire. 36 points (17 in the 4th), 8 rebounds and 4 assists is a pretty dope line. 105-94 is better. Russell Westbrook scored 27, dished out 11 and got to 8 rebounds. James Harden had just 5 in a little over 22 minutes. LeBron James was 11-24 for his 30. He also had 9 boards, 4 dimes and 4 steals. Dwyane Wade doesn’t look healthy at all. He shot 7-19, scored 19, had 8 helpers and 4 boards. Chris Bosh had just 10.
Westbrook and Durant outscored the entire Heat team 41-40 in the second half.
Miami came out hot. Poised. Broke down in the second half. Bosh has to score if Miami has a shot. Starter Shane Battier had 17 and hit 4-6 from the arc, but maybe Bosh is still dinged. Isn’t everyone though? An email this morning from the ever intelligent Temple3:
Not that I think the series is over…they almost never are after 1 game or even 2 or 3, but I’m wondering what you think is available tactically to Miami.
“I’ve always said that they have 3 major problems that would show up in a tight series:
1) Free throw shooting. They shot well last night. I expect that to revert to their average over the course of the series. More misses on tap?
2) Ball-handling. James and Wade have the ball so much that they invariably are going to have turnovers. 7 for them last night vs. 12 assists. Not great.
3) Bench play. In my mind, Battier’s scoring is basically bench scoring. I know it really isn’t, but it’s like bench scoring. They got zip from the bench last night.
I think Magic Johnson is correct…the way to beat OKC is to let Durant do his thing and control every one else. You have to entice Westbrook into taking shots. He took 24 last night (too many). Miami has to get more going at the FT line because even if they miss, they slow the game down (not sure that they can run with OKC unless OKC is turning the ball over), and they need to create foul situations that change OKC’s rotations. Harden and Ibaka and Perkins barely played a minute in the 4th qtr last night and they still won by 11.
Wade doesn’t look very healthy to me. He looks to be about 75%, honestly. Bosh isn’t 100%, regardless of what he says. And, LeBron has to be exhausted even though he can rest up a bit by covering Kendrick Perkins.
I’m not so sure that Westbrook will work hard to move the ball to players other than Durant or Harden. Miami may really have to commit to overplaying Durant on the catch (then going 1-on-1) and trying to shorten the game that way. If OKC spreads the ball around, its curtains. I just don’t believe that Miami shoots well enough to win. 42% from 3 last night — that’s probably going to revert back to the average, too.”
Good points brotha.
Spolestra has to open up his bench and also go to zone more. Wade and James need to rest. They also need to drive to the basket at every opportunity. I know they have been playing heavy minutes to get here, but they can’t stop now. Foul out everyone. LeBron is giving Durant a reprieve defensively by pulling up and not murdering the rack. Put that beef on him boy. Just like in a fight. Tire the young fella out. Lay on him. Post him up. If he is going to challenge you by thinking he can guard you one on one, make his ass pay. Bang on him. Looked a little passive there sir. This ain’t the time for that. This is winning time. Getting fans off ya back time. Shutting the media up time. Do that. Wade has to gut this series out. His body has had it it seems. I’m not sure he should go to London.
LeBron has to counter and guard Durant for the duration. Straight up. I don’t know what Spo was thinking by putting him on Perk. I would also put James and Wade in the pick and roll every play. There’s not a duo alive besides Mike and Scottie who would give those two fits. Bosh should be rolling to the basket as well and stay down in the post. Damn those threes. This is certainly not the time for finesse.
I picked the Heat in 6 but if none of what I or Temple says goes down, there will be a party in OKC.
|N. Cole||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|T. Harris||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|J. Howard||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|J. Jones||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|R. Turiaf||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|E. Curry||DNP — INACTIVE|
|D. Pittman||DNP — INACTIVE|
|C. Aldrich||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|L. Hayward||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|R. Ivey||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|N. Mohammed||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|R. Jackson||DNP — INACTIVE|
|E. Maynor||DNP — INACTIVE|
Officials: Monty McCutchen, Derrick Stafford, Ed Malloy
Time of Game: 2:34
- S. Battier (0:31 – 2nd Qtr)
- R. Westbrook (0:31 – 2nd Qtr)