Kevin Durant put it pretty well after the game. He said the team was in the position to win up one with 20 seconds left. They just didn’t get a rebound.
Truth right there.
After Durant hit a massive jumper with 20 seconds left to put OKC up 103-102, the Thunder needed just one stop. And they got it. Problem was, they didn’t get the rebound that goes with it. The Heat grabbed it, swung the ball out to LeBron James who found a wide-open Eddie House in the corner for a dagger 3 that put the Heat up two.
The game wasn’t over then, but it sort of felt like it. Durant got a decent look to tie the game but it rimmed out and OKC was left to foul. Again though, Dwyane Wade missed his second free throw, opening the door for a tying 3-pointer, except, you guessed it, the Thunder didn’t secure the rebound. Game over, 108-103.
When you’re as good as the Thunder, there’s absolutely no such thing as a moral victory, but at the same time, OKC was right in there against the class of the league. The Heat were full tilt in this one and OKC was withing one defensive rebound of finishing off a great win. Then again, maybe that last sentence says more about this Thunder team than anything. So close to greatness, but just missing a piece.
The game itself though was terrific. The teams combined for 125 first half points, were running everywhere and hitting everything. It was insanely fun. The second half was a bit more of a grind, but in a good way. The Thunder found some legs defensively and the Heat, one of the best defensive teams in the league, made it tough on OKC. The Thunder finished shooting just 40.5 percent to Miami’s 52.0, but hung tight because of 20 Heat turnovers. Durant finished with 33 but on 7-20 shooting. Westbrook 21, but on 7-22. Between those two going 14-42, you’d think OKC would have a hard time staying in the game. Miami helped them do it, but the Thunder capitalized, taking nine more shots overall.
If the Thunder finishes out strong, we all are pretty thrilled I think about the outcome. But one rebound, one 3 by Eddie House and a Durant runner that lipped out and here were are frustrated with a tight loss. I can sit here and tell you how good the Heat are all day but it probably doesn’t matter. The Thunder are good and they had a shot to win, at home. You’ve got to finish out games and OKC just didn’t do that.
- Probably the biggest story though that’ll come from this one will be KD’s comments on Chris Bosh after the game. The two were hit with double-technical fouls after getting into it in the first half. Bosh fouled James Harden on a break and KD went up to say something to Bosh. Durant said after the game Bosh “saw the need to butt in and add his two cents.” Durant said he wasn’t going to take that in his house. Said Durant: “There are a lot of fake tough guys in this league and [Bosh] is one of them.” Durant also said that Bosh thinks he can talk trash now that he’s finally on a good team. Strong stuff from KD. I approve.
- We were all wondering what the deal was with Ibaka. Brooks said that Ibaka wasn’t focused and ready to play. As a result, Nick Collison saw the bulk of those minutes. Ibaka only played nine minutes and to back up Brooks’ point, only registered a block.
- I don’t care what anybody says, Jeff Green was excellent in this game. He finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds and really did good work inside on Chris Bosh. Green sensed his moments well, making big offensive plays in big minutes. He admitted that it was probably his fault in giving up that big offensive rebound late to the Heat, but he really played a nice game overall. It just needs to happen a lot more often.
- The Heat had 12 offensive rebounds total but it really seemed like 25 because giving the Heat an extra possession is basically defensive suicide.
- Daequan Cook was pretty great in this game. He scored 13 points and hit 3-5 from 3 and really without him, OKC isn’t in this game late. It was interesting that Brooks went with Cook down the stretch over Harden, but Brooks said it was simply because Cook was hot.
- I asked Brooks how he’s going to manage the rotation after Thabo returns and he actually sort of hinted that Harden might be the one who is squeezed. He said point blank Thabo will still start but that he’ll have to work minutes in for the three and that’ll it’ll be difficult.
- KD on the loss: “We don’t take moral victories here. We wanted to win the game. We had the game and we just didn’t finish. Moral victories gave been out the door for two years now.”
- For once, the free throw line may have lost one for the Thunder. They went 27-34, but those missed really hurt in the end. Put it at the usual 31-34 and OKC wins this one. That’s not something you can expect nightly, but this team has won a lot of games by doing it.
- Back-to-back double-doubles for Jeff Green. Holy crap!
- This game had Violet Palmer and Tony Brothers as part of the crew. Yeah, I wasn’t excited.
- Harden kind of commits a lot of dumb fouls.
- One thing on Harden starting: He just seems to have some issues fitting in with Westbrook and KD on the floor with him. He looks more comfortable to me anchoring the second unit.
Next up: Home versus the Hornets Wednesday.