The Heat beat the Thunder handily, 103-81, jumping out to a big early lead behind Lebron James’ 16 first quarter points. The Heat had two quarters of over 70% shooting and while the Thunder made runs, the game was never really in doubt.
For three and a half quarters, this looked every bit like LeBron reclaiming his crown in Kevin Durant’s building before KD really ever had it. However, the story of the game — and maybe the rest of this season — was one forearm to the nose of LeBron by Serge Ibaka in the fourth quarter. James fell to the floor and was bleeding, but more worrisome than LeBron’s nosebleed was Craig Sager reporting that he was wobbly heading to the locker room. While we waited with bated breath on concussion reports, it’s now being reported that LeBron passed concussion tests.
As for the rest of the game, Dwyane Wade had maybe his best game of the season with 24 points and 10 assists and seemed spry throughout. Kevin Durant struggled for most of the first three quarters, and surely Russell Westbrook’s return to action will be the scapegoat here, but really this was just Durant having a rough go of it. Westbrook had 16 points on 4-12 shooting and did appear rusty at times, handling the ball sloppily and seemingly a step or two slow, but he’ll be fine.
What is a legitimate concern is how Westbrook fits on the team, as Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb have blossomed in his absence, neither were factors in the game tonight, scoring just eight and two points, respectively. Russell Westbrook is a top 10 talent, and he would make every team in the league better, the challenge here for Thunder coach Scott Brooks is finding a role that allows the rest of the team to continue to blossom while also maximizing Westbrook’s talent.
And for stat geeks, Thunder’s 22-point loss make it their largest home loss since 35-point loss against the Trail Blazers in 2009. Also, Miami’s Big Three scored a total of 81 points, matching OKC’s entire team total.
Photo + GIF: Bleacher Report, @cjzero