MIAMI - A week ago, the Thunder was leading the NBA Finals. Today it is heading home for the summer.
Favorites going into the series, the Thunder fell in Game 5 on Thursday night 121-106. Oklahoma City's 11-point win in Game 1 is long forgotten, the Thunder having lost four straight games.
"When you play against the best, you learn," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
Kevin Durant had 32 points and 11 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook finished with 19 points for the Thunder, though Westbrook shot 4-for-20. The two Thunder stars came out of the game with 4:44 left, the outcome long decided, the Heat fans delirious.
James Harden scored 19 and Derek Fisher 11 for the Thunder.
Down 10 at the half, the Thunder had cut its deficit in half by the time the third quarter was a minute old. It was Oklahoma City's last gasp of the season. Miami put the game, and the title, away with a 34-13 burst that pushed its lead to 93-67 on a three-point play by Dwyane Wade with 1:23 left in that pivotal quarter.
Mike Miller connected on his sixth 3-pointer of the night, and Miami's 13th, on the first possession of the fourth quarter. The former Gator soon added another for good measure.
From that point, the clock wasn't ticking down time left in the game. It was ticking down the time left in Oklahoma City's season.
The Thunder went into the game saying it had to have that proverbial Game 7 - win or else - mentality.
Apparently the Thunder chose else.
"You hate to go home and not win the whole thing. ... We lost to a team that played better than us in four of the five games," Brooks said.
MAGIC CHALLENGE: Without a coach and facing a future that may not include All-Star center Dwight Howard, the Magic introduced general manager Rob Hennigan as the league's youngest GM. "We're just going to keep our heads down and keep our sleeves rolled up and get to work," said Hennigan, 30, who replaces Otis Smith. Entering the final year of his contract, Howard has not withdrawn his trade request. "Personally, I look forward to sitting down with Dwight and sharing with him the vision and the direction we're going to go," Hennigan said, "and I look forward to listening to what his thought process is and where his head's at."
heat tv deal: Miami is reportedly negotiating a long-term deal with Fox Sports Florida for an estimated $80 million to $100 million. That would be the league's second-richest, behind the Lakers.