Game 1 of the NBA Finals was just the first taste of what we can expect from this series, great basketball. Oklahoma city's fans were thunderous, the lights were extra bright, and the aura in the building could be felt through every TV screen in the world. The Thunder did it big for their home crowd as they won game 1, 105-94. Miami started off blazing in the first half as the Heat displayed some efficient shooting from beyond the arc. Shane Battier had 13 first half points, going 4-5 from beyond the arc. Mario Chalmers also had a a good first half from beyond the arc going 2-3. Lebron James fell off just a bit from his earlier playoff success scoring only 14 points in the first half. The Thunder however did not start the game like they wanted to.
In the first half OKC had the better field goal percentage (55.6%), and more fast break points (13). It was the 8 turnovers that kept them from making a fast start in the first two quarters. Kevin Durant had 11 first quarter points, however in the second he only scored 2 points. That was due to the bad decision making early on by his star partner point guard Russell Westbrook who took too many ill-advised shots. The Thunder were being bullied inside, and pressured on the perimeter. The first half ended with the Heat leading 54-47.
The second half proved to be different, as the Thunder took control of this game. Russell Westbrook took everything to the rim, and made great decisions in transition. His change of pace, and better attention to detail opened the game up for Kevin Durant. Durant showed why he is the scoring champ as he did so effortlessly especially in the fourth with 17 points. Both Durant (36) and Westbrook (27) combined for 63 points as they lit up Chesapeake Energy Arena in the second half. The Thunder defense was stifling as they held two of the big three Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in affective. The ability to hold the Heat to jump shots, and making them force bad passes were the crucial factors to their second half surge. OKC also did a better job in transition than Miami scoring 24 transition baskets to Miami's 4.
OKC has now set the tone for this series. With such a flat beginning they gathered as a team and made great second half adjustments. Kevin Durant was spectacular tonight doing it all, and running the floor with intensity. They couldn't stop Lebron who finished with 30 points and 9 rebounds, but they made his partners struggle. This is a team game, and the Thunder did a great job of winning as a team. Role players such as Nick Collison (8 points, 10 rebounds) stepped up to make impact plays when needed. Look for game 2 to be a lot of the same great basketball we've received in the first game. If Miami hopes to win the next game they will need better production out of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as well as better transition play on both sides. Lets see if they can fix what needs to be better.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals is Thursday at 9pm, On ABC.