Besides Battier, James was the only Heat player to show up on Tuesday. James stored some extra energy by not having to chase Durant all over the court, instead guarding everyone from Russell Westbrook to James Harden to Kendrick Perkins. And it may have preserved some energy as he attacked the basket with relative ease in the second half. He needs help.
We're sure his knee isn't flaring up again? He needs to find a way to turn the corner and get to the rim now that Kevin Garnett is out of the picture. Every time he settles for a jumper, the Thunder coaching staff collectively throws a mental fist-pump. Let's just say he won't win another Finals MVP again if this keeps up.
After a sensational Game 7 performance a few days ago, Bosh didn't exactly take a big step forward on Tuesday. Bosh came off the bench again in this one, a trend that probably won't continue now that the Heat dropped Game 1. The Heat have to attack the rim more if they want to win and Bosh isn't absolved from that even if he's hurting.
Welcome to the NBA Finals, Mr. Battier. After being locked out of the championship series for the first decade of his career, Battier made up for lost time, nailing his first four shots in the game. For a night, the No-Stats All-Star nickname proved to be a false one. All in all, Battier saved the Heat from getting absolutely blown out.
Simply put, the Thunder beat the Heat at their own game. The Thunder controlled the tempo and crushed the Heat in transition in front of an ear-splitting home crowd. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant put on a show after halftime, outscoring the entire Heat team in the final two frames 41-40. The crowd chanted "M-V-P" and it was well deserved.
LeBron James and the Heat could not get past Kevin Durant (36 points) and the Thunder in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Miami had never been outscored by at least 20 points on fast breaks in a game where their Big Three played. Until tonight. The Thunder scored 24 fast-break points to the Heat's 4.