OKLAHOMA CITY — It finally happened. The Oklahoma City Thunder has finally lost a playoff game on it’s home court.
The Miami Heat took advantage of a horrific start by the Thunder to hold off OKC 100-96 Thursday night to tie the NBA Finals at a win apiece.
The Thunder staggered early by missing 12 of it’s first 13 shots and watched Miami take a stunning 18-2 lead before OKC tried to make a game of it.
And, to the delight of the 66th consecutive sellout crowd at “The Peake” downtown, the Thunder actually had the ball, trailing 98-96 with :12 to play.
Kevin Durant got a pass from Derek Fisher baseline and appeared to be popped pretty good by LeBron James.
No foul was called, Durant missed, Russell Westbrook almost grabbed the offensive rebound, but James came up with instead and the Heat held on for the big road victory.
James, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, was brilliant with 32 points including 12-12 from the charity stripe.
Even though he was held to just six points in the fourth quarter, the one basket he did make was a crucial bank shot right in front of the Thunder bench with 1:26 left to keep Miami in front.
On the other side of the line, the Thunder, the league’s leading free throw shooting team, missed seven foul shots for the second consecutive game.
Even though he led OKC with 32 points, Kevin Durant was held to just six points in the decisive first half when the outcome was determined.
Chris Bosh was also huge for the Heat, returning to the starting lineup and responding with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Dwyane Wade was way better in Game 2 than he was in the opener, tossing in 24 points for Miami as the Heat heads home now for three straight games starting Sunday night in south Florida.
Russell Westbrook had his second straight 27 point game for Oklahoma City, but it took him 26 shots to get there.
James Harden rallied from that five point game in the series opener with 21 points but the Thunder couldn’t stop Miami’s starting five.
In all, the Heat highlighters scored 92 of Miami’s 100 points including Shane Battier’s second straight 17 point night, a pleasant surprise for the Eastern Conference champs.
Afterwards, all the principles talked about the Thunder’s slow start yet James said “the series hasn’t changed” because he said each team is still capable of winning on the other team’s floor.
The Thunder is now challenged to do just that…because if Miami accomplishes a rare three-peat (a sweep of all their mid-series home affairs), the series will be over and the Heat will have it’s first world title with the “Big 3″ of James, Wade and Bosh.
Game 3 will be Sunday night at 7 p.m. Oklahoma time from Miami.