MIAMI, Fla. — It happened in a hurry.
The Oklahoma City Thunder was playing against the white-hot Miami Heat in game #5 of the NBA Finals Thursday night when Kevin Durant hit a floater in the lane midway through the 3rd quarter to cut Miami’s lead to 69-62.
A few seconds later, Durant and Miami guard Mario Chalmers clashed right in front of the Thunder bench – pushing, shoving and mouthing.
And right after that, the Heat warmed up…with a devastating 19-1 run that eventually led to Miami storming past the Thunder 121-106 to win the NBA Finals in five games…and the World Championship.
It was simply Miami’s night.
They proved that with reserve guard Mike Miller coming off the bench to hit 7-of-8 shots from behind the “3” point line, still another of the “other” players who stepped up during this entire series for the Heat.
In all, Miami had 6 guys score in double figures led by regular season league MVP and Finals MVP LeBron James, who was spectacular once again.
The beastly James had a triple-double in winning his first-ever NBA Championship…26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.
But it was the Heat’s balance that led them to the title-clinching rout.
Besides James and Miller, Chris Bosh tossed in 24 points and Dwyane Wade added 20 as Miami’s 3rd quarter blitz led to the game’s widest lead, 98-71 early in the final quarter before both teams started emptying their benches.
It was thorough and decisive as the streamers came down inside the American Airlines Arena while the sellout crowd of 20,003 celebrated the Miami franchise’s 2nd world championship in the last six seasons.
OKC was led by Kevin Durant, who had 32 points and 11 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook scored 19 but struggled shooting the basketball, hitting just 4-20 shots from the field.
James Harden redeemed himself somewhat with a 19 point game as well, but the Thunder had their poorest shooting performance of the five-game series, hitting just 41% of their shots.
OKC’s widest lead was just two points on 3 different occasions, the last time at 8-6 very early in the 1st quarter.
It was hard for the Thunder defense to get a hand in the face of the blazing Miami shooters, especially behind the “3” line while the Heat’s defense smothered OKC for a 4th consecutive game.
It’s the first time since San Antonio in 2007 that a team won 4 straight games in the NBA Finals.
The Thunder is expected to arrive back in Oklahoma City around 1:00 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. Friday at Will Rogers World Airport and they have the satisfaction of knowing they’ve gone further in the playoffs each of the past 3 seasons and they’ve been eliminated each year by the eventual NBA champion (Lakers, Dallas and Miami).
In total, the Thunder’s final record was 60-26 and they played in 20 playoff games this post-season.