If the rest of the NBA Finals go anything like Game 1, LeBron James is going to have one crappy summer. As for his critics, could it have been scripted any better? Miami comes out scorching before the duo we dubbed the best since Shaq and Kobe completely dominate the second half. Yep, sounds a lot like a Skip Bayless wet dream. After trailing for almost all of the first 36 minutes, OKC went off in the fourth quarter to secure Game 1, 105-94. Kevin Durant (36 points, eight rebounds in his first Finals game) and Russell Westbrook (27 points, eight rebounds, 11 dimes) combined for 41 points in the second half (Miami as a team had 40), and scored 23 in the fourth quarter alone. Durant just took the game over in the final frame, scoring 17 by himself. He hit transition threes, banged pull-ups, swooped in for extraterrestrial layups and had a look about him that was just screaming Mr. Brooks. In a repeat of the torture they put Mitch Kupchak through in the Lakers’ final game of the season, there was a point in the middle of the fourth when the ABC cameras showed Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning in the stands, surrounded by a sea of blue and white (blue t-shirts, nothing but white folk). The two of them looked like Phil Shiffley attending his own funeral. LeBron? He was pretty silent in the fourth, but it wasn’t like he played bad. In fact, he had his best Finals game ever (30 points, nine rebounds) … Right from the start, OKC came out ready to psych out the Heat. The Thunder were even introduced to “Ns in Paris” which includes shoutouts to both LeBron and Dwyane Wade. None of it mattered, at least not to the Heat’s supporting cast. The Thunder shot 56 percent from the field in the first half, and yet were still down seven at the half (and it could’ve been worse). Why? The three-point shot, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem (nine rebounds by the half). It was interesting to see the different cross matchups early on. For Oklahoma City, they put Serge Ibaka on Battier (17 points), which could take the league’s leading shot blocker out of the paint for long stretches. On the other side, Battier (who came out on fire, making his first three triples) was checking Durant, which did work for us the other night in 2K12. But it’s not working in real life. Then you had James guarding Kendrick Perkins, obviously because stopping Perkins in the low post is so very important. Amazingly, right after Battier took us all back to 1998 with his shooting, Derek Fisher came in and dropped eight points in six minutes. The dude hit jumpers, pull-up Js and even scored on the break against Wade … There was a lot of talk about how age and experience didn’t matter before the series started, but you could’ve fooled us. The Thunder came out looking like they were on a first date as Miami went up 10-2. Westbrook was especially bad, and if it wasn’t for Durant, the Heat could’ve been up 15 early. KD hit two straight triples to get his team into it, and then at one point, Durant blocked a shot in the lane and then outran LeBron down to the other end and finished with a three-point play … With about two minutes left to go in the first half and Miami in complete control, Kevin Durant went down the lane and dunked on all six of Joel Anthony‘s foreheads. For a second, it looked like that play might spart OKC. In a way it did. Miami still wasn’t missing, but the Thunder’s offensive energy definitely picked up. They were driving to the rim, and Westbrook was talking smack to the crowd and causing technicals. He drew a double technical in an exchange with Battier after Westbrook got T’ed up for slapping the ball away, and Battier must’ve got T’ed for being from Duke. For the first time all night, OKC was into the game … Keep reading to hear what happened to Dwyane Wade …
Almost immediately in the second half, you could tell the momentum had shifted. Everything was going OKC’s way. Even when Thabo Sefolosha tried to put down the “Drexler Glide” and came up about three feet short, the zebras gave him the foul call. But Miami was able to hold the fort for most of the third because LeBron was simply the best player on the floor, and while his jumper was again suspect, he was making the shots when they counted: two moves in the lane to push the lead back to seven, a triple after OKC had cut back into it, and then a one-on-one blow-by against Durant, finishing with a one-handed monster mash at the rim … At the end of the quarter, Westbrook – who had 11 of the team’s 27 in the quarter – had a dynamic three-point play to give OKC their first lead of the game heading into the fourth … Seriously though, what’s up with Wade? If you just looked at his numbers (19 points, eight assists), you might not have noticed. He wasn’t getting to the cup, looked awkward on the jumper and was dead on his feet throughout the game. Two minutes into the second half, he looked like he needed a break already, almost like he was carrying dead weight in his legs. This is a guy who has always played crazy minutes and has always been one of the game’s most athletic players. Last night, he was Earthbound. In the first half, they showed an interview with Wade where he finally admitted that, yes, Miami is LeBron’s team, and that No. 6 is the best player in the world. We’d say the same thing if we were out there looking like a 35-year-old Mitch Richmond. Miami has no chance, none whatsoever, if Wade keeps playing like a wounded soldier. During one stretch in the second half, 18 of 21 made baskets from the Thunder came in the paint while on the other side, Miami was content to let Wade continuously throw up garbage, or pump fake multiple times and then throw the ball to a teammate in a horrible spot without much time on the shot clock … And in other news, Charlie Villanueva was cut by the Dominican Republic national basketball team for being overweight. The team’s coach, John Calipari, said the dude wasn’t in good enough shape to play. Charlie V went to Twitter to prove his innocence, showing that he actually only weighs 243 pounds, less than his normal playing weight. Maybe Coach Cal just doesn’t like UConn cats? … We’re out like Villanueva.
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