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Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Jun 15 2012 @ 3:09 am In Miami Heat | No Comments

The Heat blitzed the Thunder at the beginning of Game 2 and never looked back.  Well, they never trailed, but they certainly noticed upon checking in their rearview mirror that OKC was closing fast.  Miami led by as much as 17 on a couple of occasions and were able to hold on 100-96, sending the series to South Beach tied 1-1.

The first quarter was the only quarter in which the Heat outscored the Thunder, but they were able to make it hold up.  LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were both aggressive from the opening tip and it showed.  DWade, who has been starting slowly for most of the playoffs, scored 13 points in the first half to go along with James’ 14.  Maybe even more important was the impact of Chris Bosh returning to the starting lineup.  Bosh had a double-double by halftime and finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.  This game is the first time in a long time that CB has looked like a true power forward.  He played at the center position also, but the bottom line is that he played like a big.  In fact, all three of these guys were spending a lot of time in the paint.

Miami’s defense improved as well.  They limited Durant and Westbrook to 5 of 19 shooting in the first half.  KD turned his game around in the second half and finished with 32 points, while Westbrook didn’t play very well throughout the game, though he did get 27 points(on 10-26 FG).  The Thunder’s third option, James Harden, had a great first half with 17 points, but only scored 4 more the rest of the game.  The Heat defense definitely deserves some credit for the limited output, but part of the blame falls OKC as well for not getting Harden the ball enough as the game progressed.

There was another big key to this Heat victory; Shane Battier.  The Dukie lit it up from downtown for the second straight game in these Finals.  He went 5-7 from behind the 3pt arc and wound up with 17 points for the night.  The same total he had in the Game 1 loss.  Over his last six games, Battier has gone 18 for 32 from deep.  That is more than a solid contribution and is going to force OKC to make a decision; are they going to continue to let guys like Battier and Chalmers have open 3′s.  If they stay at home on Miami’s 3pt shooters, that will open up space for Wade and James in the lane.

So now the series heads back to Miami for the next three games, beginning with Game 3 on Sunday.  OKC might feel some pressure, as this was the first home game they have lost in these 2012 NBA Playoffs, but the Heat are still under more.  They have had high expectations since putting this team together last year, and the last thing they want to do is give back home-court advantage right after they have taken it.  Miami has found a way to beat the Thunder.  Now they have to do it another three times.

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