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Thunder Cruise Past Miami Heat In Potential Finals Preview

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Kevin Durant outplayed MVP frontrunner LeBron James by scoring 28 points to go with nine rebounds and eight assists. (AP Photo) Kevin Durant outplayed MVP frontrunner LeBron James by scoring 28 points to go with nine rebounds and eight assists. (AP Photo)

Grant Belcher, News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – Many were touting Sunday's big game as a 2012 NBA Finals preview.

The only problem with that comparison is that the Finals are usually pretty competitive.

The Oklahoma City Thunder demolished Miami in nearly every aspect of the game Sunday night, coming away with a 103-87 victory.

Though Miami shot a solid 47 percent overall in the game, OKC simply one-upped the Heat by shooting 53 percent from the field, 83 from the line and 55 from 3-point range.

OKC, used to giving up plenty of turnovers of its own, forced the Heat's starting five into a combined 20 turnovers in the game.

And at the center of it all was a highlighted one-on-one matchup between the two players most consider the two frontrunners for the MVP award in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

But just as the Thunder dominated Miami as a team, Durant also got the best of James in their one-on-one matchup.

Durant finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while he and fellow defenders such as Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden held James to 17 points, three boards and seven assists.

Oklahoma City even survived a weak shooting night from Russell Westbrook, who had 13 points but shot just 4-of-16.

The Thunder held a lead of around 3-5 points for most of the first quarter. But a 12-2 run late in the second quarter gave OKC a double-digit lead which it would hold for most of the night.

The lead dipped back down to single digits only briefly in the second half while Oklahoma City cruised to its comfortable win, leading by as many as 16 The Thunder were even able to clear their bench by the time the game was over.

Miami's "big three" led their team once again, but their stats weren't exactly jaw-dropping, combining for 57 points. Dwyane Wade led all Heat scorers with 22.

Oklahoma City certainly spread the scoring wealth around as Kendrick Perkins put up a season high with 16 points to go with six rebounds.

Serge Ibaka had his 11th double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. And James Harden had 19 points and six assists off the bench.

The win is big because it keeps Oklahoma City (37-12) three games up on the second-place San Antonio Spurs in the West. It also maintains the Thunder's current advantage over the Heat in the league standings, which could determine home-court advantage if the two teams were to meet in the Finals.

OKC will have a night off before traveling to Portland on Tuesday to take on the Blazers. Tipoff for that game is set for a 9 p.m. central time tip.

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