Thunder Drops Thriller In Miami For Second-Straight Loss

Wednesday, April 4th 2012, 10:30 pm
By: News 9

The atmosphere was electric Wednesday night in Miami as the Oklahoma City Thunder came to town for what would be a physical battle to the end.

It came down to missed opportunities down the stretch as Miami capitalized on OKC's missed chances in the final minutes of play to take 98-93 win over the Thunder, splitting the series between the two teams.

Despite being held to 37 percent shooting, Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combine to score 53 of the Heat's points as they avenged their loss last week in OKC and rallied to their 17th straight home game victory.

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 58 points on the night but Durant's season-high nine turnovers and a team total of 20 proved to be a big hindrance in OKC finding any type of rhythm. 

Wade returned to the lineup for the Heat after sitting out one game with a sore right knee, an injury he sustained during Sunday's loss at Boston.

By the end of the first, Durant had 11 of OKC's 23 points as they survived a late quarter 8-2 run by Miami thanks to rebounds and getting their five turnovers under control—for time being that is.

In the second, Oklahoma City led by as many as 11, but after a technical foul by Kendrick Perkins and a flagrant foul called on Russell Westbrook, Miami went on a 18-8 run that culminated with a James jumper as the game clock expired to give the Heat a 50-49 advantage at the break.

Frustration set in for OKC in the third as things got increasingly physical. A handful of players felt like they were getting the short end of the stick when it came to foul calls. On top of that, Durant couldn't seem to shake the defense of James and find the basket, but it allowed James Harden to step in and score two crucial buckets to keep OKC within striking distance.

Entering the fourth, Miami held an 80-73 advantage, but it was short lived. OKC battled back on an eight point run to take an 81-80 advantage after Westbrook found Nick Collison down low for an easy score with 9:15 left in the game.

The two teams then traded buckets until Shane Battier knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Heat back on top by five.

OKC took the Heat defense by surprise with just under 2:30 left to play when Westbrook found Durant for a stunning alley-oop cutting the lead to 94-93.

A missed bucket down low and two free throws by Kendrick Perkins with 43 seconds left would have put OKC on the high side, and a ball last touched by OKC gave Miami possession and caused the Thunder to foul.

Wade sank both free throw attempts and a last-chance 3-pointer by Thabo Sefolosha fell short at the buzzer handing OKC it's second straight loss.

The Thunder moves to 40-14, and now OKC holds just a one game lead over the Spurs in the Western Conference.

LeBron James finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds and Wade had 19 points while Chris Bosh finished with 12 points, six rebounds and Mario Chalmers added 13 points.

As a team, OKC shot 43 percent from the field. Durant finished with 30 points while Westbrook had 28 and Harden came off the bench to net 12.

The win moves Miami to 39-14 on the season and within two games of Chicago (42-13) in the race for the NBA's best record.

The Thunder's next matchup comes Friday on the road against Indiana. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CST.