The Miami Heat were clicking on all cylinders Thursday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, as they had their strongest performance of this Post Season, defeating their hosts, the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96, in the second game of the NBA Finals. The Heat would enter the locker room at the half on top by double-digits and then withstood a furious rally by the Thunder in the last 12 minutes of action, that would fall short. The victory for Miami, takes away the home-court advantage for their opponents in the match-up, making it a best of five series, with the next three games to be played in South Beach.
The visitors had their most balanced scoring effort, in the last few weeks as four of their five starters put up double-figures in the contest. LeBron James was the high score for his squad with 32 points, while Dwyane Wade added another 24 points for the night. Shane Battier chipped in 17 points while Chris Bosh, back in the starting lineup, for the first time since game one of his team’s series against the Indiana Pacers, showed he was back in form as he racked up a double-double, including 16 points and 15 boards in the win.
The Thunder came out in the opening period, displaying very little energy, as if they were still drained from their emotional victory in the first game of the series. The home team could muster just 15 points in the first 12 minutes, basically sealing their fate as they trailed 27-15 at the conclusion of the quarter. Oklahoma City, almost closed the gap between the two teams in the fourth, getting to within two-points of their opponents, but never could get over the hump.
The other factor that cost the Thunder the contest, was their lack of success at the charity stripe, as the team completed just 73.1% (19-26) of their shots at the line. That is far below their regular season average of 82.9%, which if they had reached that mark on Thursday night, would most likely have them heading to South Beach leading the series 2-0.
Oklahoma City had just three players score in double-digits in the game, with Kevin Durant knocking down 32 points, Russell Westbrook had 27 points while James Harden came off the bench with 21 points for the night. Miami outscored their hosts 48-32 in the paint and out rebounded the Thunder by a 40-36 margin.
The Heat knew heading into this series that they had to win at least one game on the road, to have a chance to win the NBA Title this year and they knew the further they went into the series, the more difficult it would be to carry out that task. With this win they have now shifted the pressure onto the Thunder, who will attempt to win a game on the floor of American Airlines Arena on Sunday night, as the two teams face off for the third game of the match-up.