Durant, Thunder down Heat in OKC with big finish
Dave Larsen, Sentinel EditorThe Miami Heat came out Tuesday night in Oklahoma City hitting open shots and building a seven-point halftime lead over the Thunder, 54-47.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The Heat went six for 10 from beyond the three-point arc in the first half, with Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers combining for 23 points.
The second half, though, belonged to the Thunder.
Oklahoma City outscored the Heat 27-19 in the pivotal third quarter to take a one point lead heading into the final 12 minutes of play. In the fourth quarter, National Basketball League scoring leader Kevin Durant took over, scoring 17 of his 36 points and leading the Thunder to a 105-94 victory.
In fact, Durant teamed up with point guard Russell Westbrook to outscore the entire Heat roster in the second half Tuesday night. For the game, Westbrook chipped in 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
LeBron James scored 30 points to pace the Heat, but in the fourth quarter he managed to score just five while Durant was lighting up the scoreboard for the hometown team.
Dwayne Wade added 19 for Miami and a team-high eight assists in the loss. Oh, and those first-half heroes, Battier and Chalmers, finished with 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Over the past month, many people have said the Heat are overrated, that they don’t have the chemistry required of a championship-caliber team and that their coach and at least one of their three star players will be jettisoned if they don’t win a title this year.
When Miami was down 2-1 in their series against the Pacers, many national media members were calling the Heat finished. The Heat came back and won the series in six games.
When Boston crept back from a 0-2 hole to take a one-game lead, the same voices arose in indignation. Miami went on to win that series in seven games.
Though I admit I’ve been pulling for every team to face Miami in the playoffs this year, I didn’t expect the Pacers or the Celtics to take down LeBron and company.
This series is different, though.
Matching up against the Pacers and the Celtics, the Heat were faster and more athletic. They also had the benefit of home-court advantage.
In the NBA finale, it’s OKC who is faster, more athletic and younger than Miami’s big stars and collection of role players. Even more important, though, is that if this series goes to seven games, that game will be played in Oklahoma City where the Thunder have proven to be nearly unbeatable.
The majority of America is picking OKC to win its first title since relocating from Seattle. I agree with that assessment, though I think the Heat have enough heart and talent to take this one to a game seven.
These are the two best teams in the NBA, and probably will be for years to come. The best team will win it all: Oklahoma City.
The Baylor Bears baseball team won the first game in their Super Regional Saturday, 8-1, over the Arkansas Razorbacks in Waco. Sunday, they could have closed out the best-of-three series but lost a heartbreaker, 5-4.
Monday, it was a winner-take-all finale with a spot in the College World Series on the line. Arkansas wasn’t hitting particularly well this year, though their pitching and defense had been stellar. Baylor’s offense was one of the best in college baseball all year … just not on Monday.
Monday, the Razorbacks used five pitchers to shut down the Bears offense to win a 10-inning thriller, 1-0. Baylor had its chances to advance as they loaded the bases twice Monday night but failed to push a run across the plate.
The College World Series gets underway Friday night. Two “Cinderella” story teams advanced to Omaha, Neb., for this year’s series: Stony Brook University’s Seawolves and the Kent State Golden Flash. Both teams topped big-name schools to reach college baseball’s pinnacle. Kent State took down the Oregon Ducks while Stony Brook slipped by the Louisiana State University Tigers to reach their first elite eight tournament.
Everybody likes to pull for the underdog, but I wouldn’t wager on either the Seawolves or Golden Flash to walk off with any hardware. With their first visit to the big time, expect the “just happy to be here” clubs to make a quick exit.
Hailing hockey’s champs
Though I grew up in Wisconsin, I never took to ice skating. Therefore, I’ve been much of a hockey fan. My boss reminded me to mention that the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup this week.
OK. There. I mentioned it. I think they beat some team from the East Coast. New Jersey, I think.
Next week, we’ll talk a little Major League Baseball, more on the NBA finals and might even take a look ahead at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Stay tuned, sports fans. Until then, “Go Brewers, go!”