Friday, June 15, 2012

Finals: Heat v. Thunder, Game 2 Recap

AFP Photo - Robyn Beck (Getty edited by Payton Wales
By Payton Wales

There is a quote in the movie Rounders where Teddy KGB complains to Grama about Mike McDermott.
"Hanging around, hanging around. Kid's got alligator blood. Can't get rid of him." I have to imagine that is exactly what was being said in the Miami Heat huddle with four minutes to go Thursday night.

But, at the end of the night, the Heat were the ones standing tall with all the cards and a 100-96 victory while the Thunder get ready to go to Miami with the series tied 1-1.

The Heat started Thursday's game the way they started Tuesday's, with a Shane Battier three-pointer. They rode that momentum to a 18-5 lead midway through the first, and from there they never looked back, behind the efforts of stars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

James, who has seen his share of heartbreak in the Finals, seemed determined to win tonight's game, holding off one of Oklahoma's patented furious fourth quarter comebacks. James (32 points, eight rebounds and five assists) only scored six points in the fourth quarter, one short of the seven that had his pundits screaming he was a failure only two days earlier. But it was James' play that ensured the Heat's victory, including a questionable, but effective contest of a Kevin Durant shot that would have tied the game had it gone in.

James would also get more help from partner-in-crime Wade, who shook off his Game 1 shooting slump to go 10-for-20 on the night for 24 points while also pulling down six rebounds and five assists. It was a far more efficient performance then his Game 1 outing, and he seemed balanced with his All-Star teammates in James and Chris Bosh.

AFP Photo - Robyn Beck (Getty edited by Payton Wales

Bosh (16 points), who started for the first time in this series, may have proven to be the major solution for the Heat's interior problems as he pulled down 15 rebounds and helped to keep the Heat's transition defense solid, preventing the Thunder from scoring on the fastbreak until late in the third quarter.

The Thunder refused to go quietly into that night behind the efficient and stunning performance put on by Kevin Durant. With 32 points scored, it was Durant's second-straight game with 30-plus points. The small forward also got some help from Russell Westbrook and James Harden, who scored 27 and 21 points, respectively. Westbrook, who also had seven assists, seemed to be trying to take over the game, coming down the floor and holding the ball too long or shooting tough jumpers when teammates were open.

Westbrook's unawareness of the situation seems to be something the Thunder have struggled with all season and was talked about as one of the reasons the Thunder cannot win the whole thing. But the Thunder struggled through those woes to get within striking distance of the Heat in the last four minutes.

The team's efforts incited the fans at the Chesapeake Center into loud seas of boos toward the Heat down the stretch. It was a scene the Heat will be glad to get away from in the upcoming games as they travel home to the comfortable sands of South Beach. The big question now is, can the Heat manage to stave off the constant attack that is the Thunder? Only Game 3 will tell.

*Picture 3 -AFP Photo - Robyn Beck (Getty edited by Payton Wales


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