The Oklahoma City Thunder were down as many as 13-points in their opening game with the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals in the Chesapeake Energy Arena, but battled back to take game one 105-94.
Miami had a big night from Lebron James (30 points), but it wasn’t enough to overcome the onslaught from Oklahoma City’s pair of all stars. The Thunder’s Kevin Durant finished with 36 points (17 in the fourth quarter) and Westbrook added 27 (18 in the second half) to go along with 11 assists, eight rebounds and just two turnovers. Durant also grabbed eight rebounds and handed out four assists. Serge Ibaka was the only other Thunder player in double figures with 10 points.
The Heat had four other players in double figures, including Dwyane Wade with 19 points on 7-for-19 shooting and eight assists. Shane Battier added 17 points (one off a season-high) on 6-for-9 shooting, but he managed just four in the second half. Mario Chalmers had a similar game, scoring 10 points in the first half but just two in the second. Chris Bosh added 10 and played almost 34 minutes.
Oklahoma City came out flat, missing five of their first six shots in the first quarter, and allowing Miami to roar out to a 10-2 lead early on. The Heat lead escalated to as many as 13 points before the Thunder started taking control. The Thunder guarded Miami a bit loosely in the first half but that changed dramatically in the second when they began locking down on Miami’s players, especially Battier and Chalmers who combined to score 23 points in the first 24 minutes but just six in the last 24.
The defensive effort of the Thunder, particularly that of Kevin Durant had Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks talking, “We showed a lot of toughness in the second half, but we’ve just won one game. K.D. (Durant) is a terrific player but he’s special because he defends. In our huddles it’s all about defense”
The Thunder are now a perfect 9-0 in the playoffs at home. The series continues on Thursday night at 8pm in the Chesapeake Arena before shifting to South Beach for three games on Miami’s home court. Game six and game seven, if they are needed, will be back at home in Oklahoma City.
The game can be viewed on KTUL Channel 8 in Tulsa.