Friday, June 15, 2012

Game 2 - Holding On

The Miami Heat started the game with a tremendous amount of urgency and energy. They took an 18-2 lead and it already looked like the Oklahoma City Thunder would have to travel to Miami with the series tied. But the Thunder had been trailing in the first half during the previous two games at home and had come back to win.

The Thunder played the Heat tough for the rest of the first half because of the splendid offensive arsenal displayed by sixth man James Harden. The man with the beard and the interesting hairdo had scored more than half of his team's points into the second quarter. Durant and Westbrook were struggling from the field.

Miami maintained their double digit lead thanks to balanced scoring. Bosh was a monster on the offensive glass all game long. Head coach Erik Spoelstra decided to start Bosh, who had come off the bench in the previous four games for the first time in his career since his rookie season. That gave the Heat a small lineup. But with Bosh crashing the glass (he ended with 15) and Battier having another outstanding three-point shooting game (5-7 from 3, 17 points in all), the Heat could get away with it.

James was amazing all game long. For the fifth straight game, he scored over 30 points. The key to Miami's first half success, however, was their desire to attack the rim. Wade symbolized this renewed commitment and finished the game with 24 points.

Oklahoma City wasn't able to erase the lead in third and Miami entered the fourth quarter with an eleven-point lead. In the fourth, Durant continued his late-game heroics. He hit on seven straight shots and scored 32 after a subpar first half. Westbrook, who had 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, also shot better in the second half. He was effective with his pull up jumper in transition and had a dramatic put-back dunk in transition late in the fourth. Serge Ibaka added 5 blocks.

Down 5 with under a minute to go, Fisher poked the ball out of Wade's hands. Miami was in disarray in transition and Durant swished a three as smooth as satin sheets. James missed a straight-ahead three. With ten seconds left, Durant threw up a running jumped from the baseline. James played good defense and rebounded the ball. LeBron was then fouled and hit two clutch free throws to seal the game.

Miami won 100-96 to tie the series.

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