Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder beats Miami Heat in Game 1 of NBA Finals

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant showed LeBron James how to play the fourth quarter in the NBA Finals.

Durant scored 17 of his 36 in a nightmarish final quarter for James and his team, leading the Thunder to a 105-94 victory in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

Teaming with Russell Westbrook to outscore the Heat in the second half by themselves, Durant struck first in his head-to-head matchup with James, who had seven points in the final quarter and couldn't stop the league's three-time scoring champion.

Westbrook turned around a poor shooting start to finish with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. His three-point play on Oklahoma City's final possession of the third quarter gave the Thunder its first lead, and the Heat never caught up.

Scoring in nearly every way possible, Durant finished 12 of 20 from the field and added eight rebounds. He and Westbrook outscored the Heat 41-40 in the second half.

James finished with 30 points, his most in any of his 11 Finals games, but had only one basket over the first 8:15 of the fourth,.

James averaged three points in the fourth quarters of the Heat's six-game loss to Dallas last year, taking almost all the heat for Miami's failure. He was good Tuesday, Durant was just better.

Fans chanted "MVP! MVP!" to Durant late in the game.

"I was playing off my teammates, not trying to force anything,'' Durant said.

Game 2 is Thursday night in Oklahoma City.

"We didn't attack as much in the second half,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "When we don't attack we don't get as many opportunities in the paint or at the free-throw line. And we're a better defensive team than we showed. We have to get stops.''

MIAMI (94): James 11-24 7-9 30, Battier 6-9 1-2 17, Haslem 2-6 0-0 4, Chalmers 5-7 0-0 12, Wade 7-19 5-5 19, Bosh 4-11 1-2 10, Miller 1-2 0-0 2, Anthony 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-78 14-18 94.

OKLAHOMA CITY (105): Durant 12-20 8-9 36, Ibaka 5-10 0-1 10, Perkins 2-2 0-0 4, Westbrook 10-24 7-9 27, Sefolosha 2-5 5-6 9, Collison 4-5 0-0 8, Harden 2-6 0-0 5, Fisher 3-5 0-0 6, Cook 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 40-77 20-27 105.

Miami29251921—94

Oklahoma City22252731—105

3-Point GoalsMiami 8-19 (Battier 4-6, Chalmers 2-4, Bosh 1-3, James 1-3, Miller 0-1, Wade 0-2), Oklahoma City 5-17 (Durant 4-8, Harden 1-2, Fisher 0-1, Sefolosha 0-2, Westbrook 0-4). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 38 (Haslem 11), Oklahoma City 52 (Collison 10). AssistsMiami 20 (Wade 8), Oklahoma City 22 (Westbrook 11). Total FoulsMiami 19, Oklahoma City 16. TechnicalsBattier, Westbrook. A18,203 (18,203).

stern wants tweaks: Commissioner David Stern believes the NBA needs tweaking even after following the black eye of the lockout with a better-than-expected regular season.

The first forum for change will come Monday, when the competition committee will discuss ways to eliminate flopping and to consider expanding instant replay.

Stern celebrated success that was "better than we could have hoped for" out of a season that was in jeopardy and said fans showed their admiration for the league in record numbers.

There are still some remnants of the labor dispute that still must be taken up. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that will take place after the Finals.

Stern also wants to discuss whether NBA players should continue to play in the Olympics or if there should be an age cutoff. He admits the "Dream Team" that won gold in the 1992 Barcelona Games and helped grow the game globally was a good move, but he sees merit in questions raised by some owners about players risking injury.

There are also decisions to be made after the Grizzlies found a buyer, now that Sacramento's plan for a new arena to keep the Kings fell through and as Seattle continues to pursue a team to replace the SuperSonics.

Stern said the league would have to go through the "somewhat boring" process of gathering facts to determine whether the board of governors should approve the sale of the Grizzlies to a group led by 34-year-old California billionaire Robert J. Pera.

That wrangling is made somewhat more interesting since the last time majority owner Michael Heisley tried to sell the team — in 2006 to a group headed by Christian Laettner — the deal was not approved.

lil wayne attends: After much ado, Lil Wayne finally went to see a playoff game in Oklahoma City.

Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney says the rapper bought a pair of courtside seats for Tuesday's Game 1.

Lil Wayne caused a stir during the Western Conference final when he posted on Twitter that the Thunder wouldn't let him into its arena, with the team saying simply that he needed to buy tickets if he wanted to come.

Lil Wayne then said he felt "unwanted" in Oklahoma City, even though Durant and James Harden had offered him tickets.

This time, Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney said the rapper bought his pair of courtside seats.

around the league: The Magic reportedly has narrowed its general manager search to three finalists: Spurs executive Dennis Lindsey, Thunder executive Rob Hennigan and, former Hornets GM Jeff Bower. … The Bobcats coaching search has reportedly been narrowed to Jerry Sloan, Brian Shaw and Quin Snyder. Shaw, a highly regarded assistant once viewed as the heir apparent to Phil Jackson with the Lakers, is also considered a strong candidate for the Magic coaching opening.

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