LeBron James and the Miami Heat came out firing in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led a furious second half rally to capture a 105-94 victory.
The Heat built a 13-point lead in the 2nd quarter and finished the half up 7 points, but by the end of the third quarter, Westbrook had led Oklahoma City to a 1 point lead. Once the fourth quarter started, Durant took over the game, nailing jumper after jumper as the Thunder frustrated Dwyane Wade and James defensively.
Wade struggled all night on the offensive end, shooting just 7-19 from the field and forcing way too many jump shots that often killed the offensive flow. James was more aggressive attacking the rim, but continued to struggle with his jump shot as well. Durant, who was his primary defender in the first half, had trouble containing him anytime he had time a full head of steam or space beyond the three-point line. However, Durant did give him a significant cushion which proved to be too much of a temptation for James who took several jumpers out of that cushion. Thabo Sefolosha defended James a majority of the 4th quarter and provided a nice change of pace defensively for Oklahoma City.
While Miami is a nightmare for opposing defenses in transition, OKC isn’t much different. They steamrolled Miami in transition (24-4 transition points) and attacked the rim at every opportunity. The Thunder were able to get the switches they wanted as they routinely worked Wade onto Durant. Durant was able to use his incredible length to get off difficult shots over Wade. He finished with 36 points on the night, along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Westbrook also had an incredible all around game, scoring 27 points, dishing out 11 assists, and pulling down 8 rebounds.
The Thunder and Heat square off for Game 2 on Thursday night at 9 PM.
Thunder lead series 1-0.