The Miami Heat (39-14) put everyone on notice tonight on their way to a 103-81 domination of the NBA’s best Oklahoma City Thunder (43-13).
This game had all the story lines you could ask for–MVP battle, finals preview, and the return of Russell Westbrook.
LeBron James made everyone reconsider their MVP votes after his performance tonight.
James finished with 33 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 8 turnovers before leaving midway through the fourth with a bloody nose.
The Heat came out of the gate hot behind a James. James scored the fist 11 points for the Heat as they would end the first quarter with a 34-17 lead.
The Thunder would rally in the second quarter, cutting their deficit to just 7 (54-47).
The Heat started the third quarter as they did the first. They would build up another double-digit lead. Kendrick Perkins left early into the third quarter for the Thunder with a left groin strain.
The Thunder would be able to cut into the Heat lead and trail 76-65 at the end of 3.
The Heat would come out strong yet for another quarter. This time building up a 19 point lead in the 4th. Even with James leaving halfway through the period, the Thunder would not be able to recover.
In his first game back after missing 26 games, Russell Westbrook finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 4 turnovers in 24 minutes.
MVP candidate Kevin Durant didn’t have the same impact his counterpart did. Durant finished with 28 points on 10-22 shooting (1-6 3-pt), 8 rebounds, and 5 turnovers.
Dwyane Wade (24 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds) and Chris Bosh (24 points, 8 rebounds) rounded out the Big-3′s dominance for the night.
Serge Ibaka finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds for the Thunder.
Outside of each team’s top 3 players, no other player hit double digits in scoring.
This was the first game for the Thunder post All-Star break. A combination of great Miami defense and maybe some rust led to the Thunder shooting just 37.8% (28-74) from the floor. The Heat’s defense also force 20 OKC turnovers for 27 points.
Though the Heat shot just 5-21 from 3 (238%), they were able to shoot 41-75 (54.7%) overall. A large part of that was their ability to get to the basket, finishing with 50 points in the paint.
This marks just the fourth home loss for OKC at home.
Over his last five games (5-0), James is averaging 34 points, 9 rebounds, 5.8 assists and shooting 59.1% from the floor.
There is no immediate information on the severity of James injury.
The Heat don’t play till Sunday when they face the Chicago Bulls at home at 3:30 PM ET.
The Thunder host the Los Angeles Clippers at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday.