D – FENSE! D – FENSE! The Heat take Game 3

First of all, if you didn’t hear it yesterday, Happy Father’s Day!

And it was a great Father’s Day for basketball! DEFENSE was the name of the game tonight as the Miami Heat take Game 3 and taking the lead in the series, 2-1. The Heat had control of most of the game. They lost it towards the middle of the 3rd, going down by ten at one point to the Oklahoma City Thunder. That was their first lead since the 1st quarter. Miami battled back, taking it to the Thunder and retaking the lead, 74 – 73 at the end of the 3rd. 4th quarter was all Miami. They pull it together to win 91 – 85 @ the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Foul trouble, missed free throws, bad turnovers and lackadaisical defense landed OKC in the losing seat again tonight.

The Matchup:

Both teams actually got out and played tonight, so it was actually the Thunder team against the Heat team tonight.

Winner of Game 3:

LeBron James. Although his team put up numbers and laid everything on the floor, it was James w/ those quick penetrations and bulldozer body that really coasted the Heat to the finish.

These teams are very similar. It comes down to who can impose their identity more consistently. – Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra (pre-game)

Tale of the tape:

LeBron James… all night. His penetration of the paint was crazy, both on offense and defense. He out rebounded every one (both teams, Kendrick Perkins trailed with 12). Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha were also on their game on both ends of the floor, but it wasn’t enough. Chris Bosh had a big game defensively and on the board. Dwayne Wade was throwing dimes all over the court. Shane Battier didn’t have as much success in this game as he did in Games 1-2, but he did have 2 from deep. Again, bad fouls from the Thunder definitely put them under. A really bad one from James Harden in the final was no help at all to their comeback efforts. A bad turnover within that same time frame also help to seal the Thunder loss. Durant was in foul trouble again, picking up 4 fouls for the second game straight.

The Thunder only had two leads in the game, once in the 1st and then in the 3rd, where they took the lead by 10 and then dropped it just as fast. Miami’s tempo on the break and off the pick was too much for OKC to handle. They were outscored 3 of 4 quarters. They shot 43% for the game. Miami only shot 38% from the field overall.

Free throws were again big for the Heat, taking 35 on the night, making 31 (about 89%). They were behind in steals and blocks and had more turnovers but they definitely out rebounded OKC on the night.

Notables:

Again, LeBron James, playing at the MVP caliber he should have been in the previous finals against the Dallas Mavericks, put up 29 pts, only 1 pt shy of making this his 6th game, 30+. He also had 14 reb, securing the double double and 3 ast.
DWade added 25 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast. He was 9 for 11 from the line.
Bosh also had 10, but was more effective on the glass, bringing down 11 reb and finishing with 2 blk.

Kevin Durant, despite his 4 fouls, finished with 25, adding 6 reb, 2 blk and a steal.
Westbrook also did well with 19 for the night, 5 reb, 6 ast and 2 blk.

Well Kevin got four fouls. We got fouled too many times. They got to the free throw line 35 times, we got to the free throw line 24 times. We’ve got to do a better job defending them without fouling. – Thunder head coach Scott Brooks

I think we only shot 30 percent, but we built up some toughness now that we can find different ways to win. We didn’t have a lot of offensive possessions in the second half, but we had enough stops, enough timely scores. – Erik Spoelstra

The Finals CONTINUE! Game 4 is at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday, June 19th @ 8PM!

XXII

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