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LEBRON AND THE HEAT’S DEFENSE TAKE DOWN OKC

Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Apr 5 2012 @ 9:57 am In Miami Heat | No Comments

In what many experts think was a preview of the NBA Finals, the Heat took down the Thunder on Wednesday night, 98-93.  After being embarrassed in Oklahoma City less than two weeks ago, Miami did what they needed to do and stepped up their intensity, especially on defense.  For all of the superstar power in this game, Kevin Durant went for 30 points and LeBron 34, this game came down to blocks, hustle plays, and players diving on the floor fighting for loose balls.  This was a big win for the Heat.

Of course, before anybody gets too excited, this game was at home, where Miami has won 17 straight.  Whether or not this team will put it together on the road is another question.  LeBron James certainly seems to be more focused when playing at home.  While on many nights there might be a debate as to who the most important guy was for the Heat, on this night there was no question that it was LeBron James.  Almost always an efficient player, James was aggressive too, getting to the free throw line 13 times, where he went 11-13.  Throw in 10 assists and 4 steals and you get an idea of what kind of impact Bron had.

There are some lines from this game that don’t jive with how Miami usually plays.  They went 10-24 from the 3pt line.  That’s 42%, which is excellent, but 24 attempts is too many for this team.  If they try to live behind the arc, that will cost them in the playoffs.  Also, while Miami played great defense, they shot horribly as team at 38%.  Give credit to OKC’s defense, but the Heat still need to shoot better.

So yes, Miami should be happy to beat one of the best teams in the NBA.  Coach Eric Spoelstra should be happy as well, as he is constantly preaching defense.  The Heat also had nice contributions from players outside the “Big 3″.  Battier and Chalmers combined for 22 points.  But as good as Miami is on South Beach, they will almost certainly have to win some games on the road in places like Chicago and OKC if they want to win the NBA Title.  It will be a few days before the Heat have to go on the road again.  Their next test will be to avoid an emotional letdown as they play host to the Memphis Grizzlies at the AAA on Friday night.

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