The Oklahoma City Thunder played their second straight game against a top notch Eastern Conference team and got off to another slow start in a 115-108 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday night at Chesapeake Arena.
The Heat scored 40 points in the first quarter and led by 14 after the first period, then after the Thunder settled in, the next two quarters were even before Miami stretched the lead to 22 in the fourth quarter and held off a late OKC run to win by seven.
The Heat shot 49 percent from the field and made 14 three-pointers, spreading the scoring around with seven players in double figures.
OKC hit 18 three-pointers with seven coming from Danilo Gallinari, who finished with 27 points to lead the Thunder.
Miami outrebounded OKC by ten.
Gallinari was supported by five other Thunder players in double figures.
Both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder had 18 points, Chris Paul had 14 points, and Hamidou Diallo 11.
Nerlens Noel returned to the floor after missing six games with a sprained ankle.
With Steven Adams out after suffering a knee contusion on Wednesday night, Noel got the start and scored the first three OKC baskets of the game, including a three-pointer to start the game, just his second made three-pointer of his career.
Noel finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
The Thunder have lost three of their last four games, and finish their three-game homestand Saturday night when they host Portland at 8:00 pm at Chesapeake Arena.