Kevin Durant scored 17 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and the host Oklahoma City Thunder opened the National Basketball Association Finals with a 105-94 win against the Miami Heat.
Russell Westbrook added 27 points and 11 assists as the Thunder rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit last night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Oklahoma City used a 9-0 run that began late in the third quarter to take its first lead of the night, and then outscored Miami 31-21 in the fourth period.
“We showed a lot of toughness in the second half, battling and fighting for every possession,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said in a news conference. “It was a good win.”
LeBron James led the Heat with 30 points and nine rebounds, while Dwyane Wade scored 19 points for Miami. James won his third NBA Most Valuable Player award this season, and Durant finished second while winning his third consecutive scoring title.
Game 2 is tomorrow night in Oklahoma City before the best- of-seven series moves to Miami.
“We were putting ourselves in a position to win and then they just went away,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said in a news conference. “They’re relentless.”
Miami opened an 10-2 lead and went 5-for-6 on 3-pointers en route to a 29-22 first-quarter advantage. Three of those 3- pointers were by Shane Battier.
The Heat built their lead to 13 points in the second period and were up 54-47 at halftime. James had 14 points in the half, while Battier added 13 for the Heat.
“Early in the game, they got some easy 3s,” Durant said in a television interview. “The only adjustment we made was playing harder. Everybody played hard in the second half.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Gloster in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com