2012 NBA Finals: Kevin Durant Takes Over As Thunder Rally to Beat Heat in Game 1
It was the match-up we all wanted. Oklahoma City Thunder versus the Miami Heat. LeBron James vs...
Oklahoma City Thunder versus the Miami Heat. LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant. The two most-hyped and exciting teams this year.
Who will take it?
To start off Game 1, it sure looked like the Miami Heat. LeBron James was on a roll as the Heat led by double-digits for a while. Shane Battier was also hot from behind-the-arc and the Thunder could not contain them.
However, OKC would soon get on a roll towards the end of the first half thanks to a monster jam by Kevin Durant to cut the Thunder's deficit to six at 47-41 with under three minutes remaining. However, Miami would not back down and led 54-47 at halftime.
It looked like the Heat's to win. LeBron could not be stopped and was just taking over Durant. He's hungry for the ring. However, despite James playing well, the second half came back to haunt him, especially the fourth quarter.
The Thunder would outscore Miami 57-40 in the second half. The combination of Durant and Russell Westbrook alone was better than the Heat.
Although James had a solid third quarter, the Heat were no match. Oklahoma City took a 74-73 lead entering the fourth. All the momentum as on their side, and James was no match for it. The King could not contain the Durantula in the fourth. Actually, nobody could.
He was cold-blooded. He couldn't be stopped. He was taking LeBron's place as the MVP -- and the best player on the planet.
Westbrook's jumper with four minutes remaining to put OKC up 93-83 basically sealed the deal. Even Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning knew it. Westbrook would finish with 27 points and 11 assists.
With that, Oklahoma City stole Game 1.
However, I still stand by my prediction with the Heat in 6 games. Miami is better when they are the underdogs and under pressure. They've shown they can get past that, like when they were down 2-1 against Indiana or 3-2 versus Boston.
They're able to do same here. James sometimes could not have his shots falling or making the right passes. Miami will also need more out of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Bosh struggled and took too many bone-headed three's. Wade also had his share of bad shots and costly turnovers.
James would finish with 30 points and nine rebounds, even though he didn't play his best, which is scary to think. Then again, the Thunder were able to do all of this without reigning Sixth Man of the Year in James Harden.
However, I think inexperience will show soon for OKC.
But anyways, hats off to them. They played amazing defense in the second half and now they lead 1-0 in the series. Thabo Sefalosha was the key there.
Game 2 starts on Thursday night. Can the Heat respond?
Matt Silverston is a columnist for FootBasket. He also runs the basketball blog, Mind of Mattman. You can also follow him on Twitter.