The Thunder and Rockets approach Game 2 Wednesday night both looking to make statements. The Thunder look to increase their series lead to 2 games to none while the Rockets look to tie things up at one game apiece. As many know in any playoff series in any sport Game 2 can always go either way.
1st Quarter: The Rockets already have made adjustments following game 1 inserting guard Patrick Beverly who played a key role as a reserve in game 1 in the starting unit; Beverly assumed the starting role from Power Forward Greg Smith. With Beverly in the starting lineup the Rockets are primarily a small unit with Center Omir Asik as the only low post player. Midway through the quarter Russell Westbrook is charged with his second personal foul and will likely sit for the remainder of the quarter. The Thunder and Rockets are currently playing a tightly contested game with Rockets holding a one point advantage. Kevin Durant clearly is become the aggressor in the quarter, while he scored over 20 points in game 1, he has showed his will to score in quarter number 1 with his 15 points. James Harden and Reggie Jackson thrilled in the final seconds of the quarter as Harden scored on a layup, then allowing Reggie Jackson to connect on a 3 pointer as the shot clock expired to close the quarter.
OKC leads 29-28
2nd Quarter: Both teams come out sluggish at the start of the quarter with neither capitalizing on each team turnovers. As the quarter continues the teams appear to find rhythm and begin to settle. At the half way point Russell Westbrook seems to have injured his knee in a tie up with Patrick Beverly of the Rockets, the injury is something that will be monitored to see if it effects his play. Westbrook does however remain in the game after the injury scare. Westbrook isn’t showing any lingering effects from the injury as he explodes to the rim for a transition basket shortly after. Since the Westbrook and Beverly tie up the intensity has picked up as the teams attempt to gain an edge as the quarter closes.
OKC leads 57-55
3rd Quarter: Jeremy Lin who so far has been nonexistent in the series appears to have injured his shoulder and will be taken out of the game. The Rockets begin the 3rd quarter on 7-0 run that is capped by a thunderous James Harden dunk. The Thunder follows the Rockets run with a 13-0 run of their run sparked by Russell Westbrook allowing the Thunder to take their largest lead of the game.
OKC leads 78-72
4th Quarter: The Thunder continues their strong closing to the 3rd quarter here in the 4th as the increase the lead causing Rockets Coach Kevin McHale to call a timeout to stop the run. The timeout called by Coach McHale allowed his team to gather themselves as they find themselves on a 14-2 run closing their deficit to a single basket. The Rockets run continues and they take a 2 possession lead with 3 minutes remaining. The Thunder however will not go down easy, Kevin Durant connects on a 3 point shot then assists on another 3 pointer with Thabo Sefolosha allowing the Thunder to take the lead which they would not relinquish.
OKC wins 105-103
OKC leads series 2-0
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Posted in Kevin Durant, NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook, Sports
Tagged Houston, James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Kevin Durant, NBA, OKC, Russell Westbrook, Scott Brooks
The OKC Thunder and Houston Rockets kick off one of the most intriguing 1st round match ups in recent playoff memory. Last year sixth man award winner James Harden comes back to OKC, where he began his career only to be ousted by ownership to avoid paying the luxury tax. OKC will attempt to prove the naysayers wrong and show they have what it takes to repeat as Western conference championship and that James Harden was not needed to accomplish the feat.
1st Quarter: OKC begin the game with great tempo jumping to an early 11 point advantage. The Rockets are showing their inexperience in the playoffs as the begin the game 0 for 9 from the field. Since starting the game fast the Thunder has cooled off going through a 6 minute scoreless stretch. Both teams appear to be settling into the game as the reserves begin to check in and the quarter comes to a close.
Thunder leads 26-19
2nd Quarter: The Thunder begin the quarter with 3 consecutive turnovers allowing the Rockets to close the OKC lead to a single basket. Rockets guard Patrick Beverly has been an unlikely factor in the game allowing the Rockets to now tie the game the midway point in the 2nd quarter. The teams are currently trading baskets with neither team able to seize control or momentum in the quarter. Serge Ibaka however has had several dunks in the quarter for the Thunder along with a block that led to a fastbreak finished by Kendrick Perkins. The Rockets appears to lost some focus as the quarter wines down with OKC going on a 18-5 run aided by the Rockets turnovers many which were unforced.
Thunder leads 60-47
3rd Quarter: OKC has come out aggressive which has allowed them to extend their lead up to 22 points. Serge Ibaka continues to have an impact on the game connecting on several shots from 3 point range. Meanwhile the Rockets have become stagnate on offense going through long periods of scoring droughts which the Thunder have been able to capitalized upon. Russell Westbrook finished the quarter with an impressive end to end layup that gives the Thunder their largest lead of the game. Westbrook currently stand 2 rebound shy of a triple double.
Thunder leads 89-66
4th Quarter: Kevin Durant begins the quarter with a soaring dunk that was capped by a two 3 point shots in the corner by veteran Derek Fisher to give the Thunder an insurmountable lead of 33 points the Thunder are in full control! The Rockets have emptied their bench ultimately conceding victory to the OKC Thunder.
Thunder lead series 1-0
Game 5, will LeBron James finally capture his 1st NBA Championship which has eluded him for his entire career and the reason why he took his talents to South Beach. OKC Thunder will look to take it 1 game at a time and attempt to have the series return to their home arena where they only loss 1 game in this year postseason. Russell Westbrook will look to add on to his stellar performance from Game 4. For OKC it’s Win or Go Home
1st Quarter: In the beginning LeBron James doesn’t appear to have any lingering effects from his cramping issue as he threw down a dunk on the 2nd possession of the game. The Thunder has come out aggressive and with that play has caused Dwyane Wade to pick up 2 early fouls in the quarter. Kevin Durant has been active in the quarter and OKC seems determined to have Durant make his mark on this game. Chris Bosh has had the advantage on Kendrick Perkins scoring twice off of hesitation pump fakes. No difference from the other games in this series Miami role players has risen to the occasion Mike Miller and Norris Cole both scored on 3 point shots, with Miller having 2 in the quarter. Before the quarter ended Durant scored on a dunk where he soared above Udonis Haslem. At one point in the quarter the Miami Heat scored on 9 straight possessions. Miami leads 31-26
2nd Quarter: Midway through the quarter the Thunder is struggling from the field shooting 37% while Miami is shooting 52%. As a result the Heat has gone on a 14-4 run with Miami’s Big 3 scoring 11 of the 14. Dwyane Wade after diving for a loose ball was whistled for his 3rd personal foul and was taken out by Coach Spolsetra. Mike Miller continued his hot shooting from the 1st quarter and currently stands at 4-4 on 3 point shots. Russell Westbrook was unable to add on to his performance from Game 4 and for the game is 2-9 however he has been able to get to the free throw line where he is 9-9. Miami has the momentum leading into the half however the Thunder is in position to make a run in the 2nd half. Miami leads 59-49
3rd Quarter: Miami has gained an advantage in the game thus far from the 3 point line with the scores coming from Miami’s role players of Battier, Miller and Chalmers. Miami with 5 minutes remaining in the quarter has a 19-1 run and has allowed Miami to increase their largest lead of the game of 25 points. The Heat has taken full control of the game in the 4th quarter. The OKC Thunder has settled for 3′s in the 3rd quarter in attempt to cut the deficit. Miami leads 95-71
4th Quarter: Miami and LeBron James are 12 minutes away from a championship with a 24 point lead. Miami are trying to keep their emotions in check with a championship within arm’s reach, at a point in the 3rd quarter Mario Chalmers was seen waving to the crowd and LeBron James told him “Not yet play ball.” LeBron James recorded a triple double in the quarter which was his 1st for the entire season including the regular and post season. Coach Scott Brooks conceded to victory with 4 minutes remaining in the games when he took out Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Miami wins 121-106 and the 2011-2012 NBA Championship. LeBron James was awarded the Bill Russell Most Valuable Player award.
Game 4 of the NBA Finals are underway and the OKC Thunder must win to avoid falling in a 3-1 hole. Miami will look to capture the 3-1 lead an attempt to close out the series out on Thursday night. Kevin Durant must avoid foul trouble which he was unable to do over the past 2 games. Coach Brooks has decided to have Durant guard Mario Chalmers instead of the more physically stronger LeBron James. Both teams should play with a sense of urgency to gain the advantage on the other.
1st Quarter: The OKC Thunder came out strong in the onset of the game taking an early 17 point lead. The two teams are being physical and the referees are allowing the style of play for now. Russell Westbrook who continues to be the subject of much criticism has 10 points 1 assist and is 5 for 7 on field goal attempts. The OKC Thunder has come out strong on defense, Nick Collison most importantly who had a block on DWayne Wade midway through the quarter. The Big 3 of Miami was held relatively quiet for the quarter. For the first time in the 2012 Finals OKC will end the first quarter with a lead. OKC leads 33-19
2nd Quarter: The Miami Heat responded well from their lackluster 1st quarter and also capitalized on a 3 pointer from rookie Norris Cole to end the 1st quarter. The Heat continues to receive help from the role and Norris Cole wasn’t an exception to the rule, he has scored 8 points through the 1st 2 quarters. Miami has gone on a run of their own including a 13-0 run that goes back to the 1st quarter. LeBron James who scoring wise has remained in check did pick up his 6th assist midway through the quarter. Dwayne Wade also has made his presence in the quarter, Wade scored on a 3 point shot that briefly tied the game at 35 all. Wade did go down in the quarter after Serge Ibaka blocked an attempted dunk; however Wade didn’t exit the game. The OKC Thunder has allowed the Heat to make the game close in the quarter by giving up multiple 3 point shots. Russell Westbrook continued his hot start finishing the half with 18 points 3 rebounds and 3 assists. OKC leads 49-46
3rd Quarter: The 3rd quarter started back and forth before Miami settled into a 6 point lead. Miami role players again have stepped up to the challenge with Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers hitting shots to increase their slim lead. OKC entered the penalty midway through the quarter and with the smaller James Harden guarding LeBron James, Miami was able to pick up easy points at the free throw line. LeBron James is closing in on a triple double and is currently 1 rebound shy of the feat. Miami leads 79-75
4th Quarter: This 4th quarter will decide if the series will go back to Oklahoma City or if Miami will have the potential closeout opportunity in Game 5. Russell Westbrook is in the midst of his own run where he has scored the last 13 points for the Thunder and for the quarter has an 11-2 run. Midway through the quarter LeBron James went down with an apparent injury and had to be carried to the sideline and would be taken out of the game however would return. The game remains competitive in the quarter and appears it will be coming down to the wire. With the game being tied at 94-94, LeBron James and DWayne Wade went on a 5-0 with James scoring a 3 pointer and Wade on a finger roll layup to take a 5 point lead. Russell Westbrook finished the game with 43 points and a questionable foul on Mario Chalmers to send him to the free throw line with the Heat holding a 4 point lead. The before mentioned Chalmers provided 25 points and 15 coming in the 4th quarter. Aside from the scoring of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook the Thunder were unable to receive production from them reserves and would fall in Game 4. Miami wins 104-98
The Miami Heat and OKC Thunder are tied at 1 game apiece in the 2012 NBA Finals heading into Game 3. The beginning of Game 3 will be a decisive stretch given the fact that the next 3 games will be played at American Airlines Arena home of the Miami Heat. OKC will look to overcome sluggish starts that they have experienced in its prior 2 games and Miami will look to hold onto leads which they also have held in the games prior.
1st Quarter: OKC started off to a much better start in the quarter which was needed to keep the game close throughout. The Big 3 of Miami has scored all of their points thus far in the paint and has only settled for 1 outside jump shot, which was attempted by LeBron James. OKC has defended the 3 point line early on; however their paint defense has struggled as a result. Coach Scott Brooks inserted James Harden within the first 5 minutes of the games more than likely to prohibit the slow starts the team has experienced. Miami leads 26-20
2nd Quarter: Midway through the quarter the score remains tight, with both teams battling back and forth. LeBron James continues to attack and has been aggressive for much of the evening midway through the quarter he has 14 points with all coming from inside the painted area. Russell Westbrook who has been the subject of much criticism in the first 2 games regardless of the fact he has averaged 27 points 8 rebounds and 9 assists. In fact at halftime of Game 2 Magic Johnson called Westbrook play the worst point guard play in the history of the NBA Finals. Westbrook however in Game 3 has responded well with 8 points and 0 turnovers throughout the first 2 quarters. Shane Battier continues his hot shooting in the NBA Finals and is currently 11-15 from 3 point range. At the end of the quarter the teams exchanged 3 point baskets coming from Shane Battier and then Russell Westbrook at the other end. Miami leads 47-46
3rd Quarter: Both teams are off to a slow start to begin the quarter, with both coming out missing their first couple of shots in the half. After overcoming the start at the half the Thunder started a 14-2 run to take a lead of 9 with 7 minutes remaining in the quarter. Miami has gone away from attacking the paint as they did in the 1st half. In the quarter and for the 2nd straight game Kevin Durant will be in foul trouble for the remainder of the game picking up his 4th foul on somewhat of a suspect call against Dwayne Wade. After Durant picked up his 4th foul Coach Scott Brooks sat Durant for the remainder of the quarter along with Westbrook. Defensively the OKC Thunder has made adjustments allowing them to take the lead in the quarter; however the Thunder has committed 2 fouls on 3 point shots allowing Miami to convert on all attempts and allowed Miami to cut into the lead. LeBron James was relatively quiet in the quarter before scoring on a 3 point shot which was in the midst of a 15-3 run from Miami and also gave them the lead. Miami leads 69-67
4th Quarter: The Thunder and Heat are in a competitive battle in the 4th quarter. The Thunder hit a cold stretch in the quarter which gave the Heat the opportunity to open a 7 point lead. James Harden has struggled in the game shooting 2 for 10 and outside of the duo of Westbrook and Durant there has been no major contributors. OKC Thunder has been unable to convert on a turnover riddled Miami Heat who had 9 turnovers in the quarter. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade willed their team in the 4th once they were able to overcome their own troubles. OKC attempted a rally late in the game but didn’t have enough to capitalize on the opportunities given. Miami wins 91-85
The OKC Thunder leads the NBA Finals 1-0 over the Miami Heat, after a 11 point victory on Tuesday night. One major adjustment made by the Miami Heat was the placement of Chris Bosh into the starting lineup. From the outset it doesn’t appear strategically the Thunder has made any changes to their philosophy.
1st Quarter: Miami comes out strong with a sense of urgency jumping out to at one time an 17 point lead. OKC once again struggled from the field in the 1st quarter missing 11 of its first 12 before the sixth man of the year winner James Harden entered and scored a quick 10 points. Dwayne Wade has been aggressive in the quarter to counter act and assist LeBron James and appears to be determined to attack the paint defense of the Thunder. Serge Ibaka has 2 first quarter block with both coming on LeBron James and DWayne Wade. The duo of Durant Westbrook struggled in the 1st quarter with both picking up 2 early fouls and combining for just 2 of 10 on field goal attempts.
Miami lead 27-15
2nd Quarter: James Harden continued his scoring in the quarter allowing the Thunder to briefly cut the deficit to single digits. As the Thunder appeared to be settling into the game Miami began a 7-0 run to then equal the largest lead of the game of 17 points. Shane Battier is again showing his 3 point ability as he continues to score in transition. Currently James Harden is the only offensive threat for OKC leading all scorers with 17 points. The Thunder throughout these playoffs has fallen behind in games as they did in Game 1, it will remain to be seen if the Thunder will be able to come back and win the game. The assertion of Chris Bosh in the starting lineup has paid dividends for the Heat as Bosh has recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant must begin to assert themselves for the Thunder to be competitive for the remainder of the game.
Miami leads 55-43
3rd Quarter: Miami kept the separation between themselves and the Thunder during the quarter. Each time it seemed the Thunder were poised to make a run the Heat would respond to keep their distance. Kevin Durant picked up his 4th foul in the quarter which may effect his aggression for the remainder of this game. Miami leads 78-67.
4th Quarter: Miami has maintained the lead throughout the game and must fight off a OKC run to be able go back to Miami victorious. Midway through the quarter Kevin Durant is perfect from field for the 2nd half and has the Thunder in position to make this game close. Offensively Miami has become stagnate using a lot of clock before setting into position for their shot which leaves a slim margin to create opportunities if a good look isn’t available. OKC made a furious rally in the closing seconds of the game getting as close to 2 points with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Coach Scott Brooks decided to go for a fast basket versus use more clock for the shot
or ultimately take a 3 to win the game. As they did in Game 1 Westbrook and Durant dominated the 2nd half however it wouldn’t be enough to overcome the sluggish start that lead to large deficit.
Miami wins 100-96
The NBA Finals are underway with one of the most anticipated matchups in recent memory. Throughout this finals I will provide a quarter by quarter analysis and publish it at games end.
1st Quarter: The Miami Heat and OKC Thunder are living up to the billing in the 1st quarter with great outside shooting. Shane Battier scored 3 early 3 point field goal attempts with Kevin Durant countering and scoring 2 of his own. Coming into Game 1 many wondered how coaches would handle the opposing matchup. It is apparent early that Dwayne Wade would assume the responsibility of slowing down one of the explosive guards in the league today Russell Westbrook. Kevin Durant appears to be set with guarding LeBron James, Durant throughout the playoffs has taken it upon himself to guard the opposing team best player. Aside from individual matchups OKC has struggled in the 1st quarter with guarding the 3 point line with both Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier scoring on multiple attempts. Durant has been the only constant offensive threat for OKC currently with Westbrook unsuccessful on 3 of 4 attempts, however James Harden did make a buzzer beater shot as the quarter ended. At the end of the 1st quarter the Heat lead 29-22
2nd Quarter: Midway through the quarter Miami maintains a small lead over the Thunder. Heat role players has rose to the challenge with Chalmers and Battier providing a steady hand of offense to assist the big 3. Of the big 3 Chris Bosh made another appearance off the bench for the 3rd consecutive game and knocking down a 3 pointer as he did Game 7 versus Boston. In the 2nd quarter OKC continues to cut into the lead however the Heat continues respond to keep the separation. OKC has 8 turnover as halftime approaches and will need to protect the ball better in the 2nd half to be able to make a run of their own. Both teams are shooting 50% from the field with Miami holding the scoring advantage because of the Thunder turnover problems. The Thunder did receive contributions from Derek Fisher who has much experience in Finals with most coming from his tenure with the LA Lakers. Highlights that many may have been excepted have been at a premium so far with the exception being with Kevin Durant who was able to spilt the defense and dunked over both Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony. Miami lead 54-47
3rd Quarter: OKC came out in the 3rd quarter with momentum for a brief moment and tying the game at 60 midway through the quarter. OKC appears to be settling in to the atmosphere and the pressure that comes along with the being in the NBA Finals. Defensively the Thunder applied the pressure starting with Thabo Shefolosha who accounted for several turnovers. Russell Westbrook also made his mark on the game scoring 12 points in the quarter alone. OKC did take better care of the basketball in the quarter only committing 1 turnover in the 3rd. Dwayne Wade through 3 quarters has only 8 points and must be more assertive in order for the Heat to be effective. Thunder lead 74-73
4th Quarter: OKC begins the 4th with momentum on their side as they ended the 3rd quarter with their first lead of the game. Westbrook and Durant outscored the Miami Heat by themselves in the 2nd half with a flurry of offensive moves. The duo of Westbrook and Durant both put on a show, Westbrook filled the stat sheet falling 2 rebounds short of a triple double bouncing back from a subpar 1st half. Durant show the ability he has in his game closing the game in the 4th quarter by scoring 17 points and pin point passing. OKC showed great ball movement during the quarter where they continued to pass open shots for better opportunities in the paint, a lesson that might have been learned from the San Antonio Spurs. As Miami role players assisted in the 1st half OKC took control with their role players in Nick Collison, Shafolsha and Derek Fisher to take control in the 4th. As the quarter wore on the Heat begin to become dry from the field going a stretch of 6 minutes with no baskets made. The Thunder controlled the 4th quarter with a unorthodox lineup that Coach Scott Brooks typically do not use, only using James Harden for the last minutes of the game and using his veterans during crunch time. With Miami not in sync offensively the Heat was unable to close the margin and ultimately would fall in Game 1.
OKC wins 105-94