Heat pummel Thunder; bloodied LeBron exits earlyFeb 21, 2014 - 5:50 AM
Midway through the fourth period, LeBron James split a double team and threw down an emphatic finish over Serge Ibaka but suffered a bloody nose in the process. James spent a few minutes on the floor in obvious pain before being helped to the locker room.
"I'm like everybody else, you're used to seeing him like Superman, get up and sprint back even after tough hits and tough falls," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "So we knew something was up."
Despite playing just 33 minutes, James poured in a game-high 33 points on 15-of-22 shooting while his running mates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh donated 24 points apiece in Miami's fourth straight win.
Kevin Durant paced OKC with 28 points, while Russell Westbrook returned to the lineup after missing 27 games following knee surgery and notched 16.
"One thing I know about our guys is that we'll get back into the gym tomorrow, bounce-back, and get ready for the next game," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
Neither team shot it well from distance in this one. The Thunder made a season-low two triples on 20 attempts, while Miami hit just 5-of-21 from the arc.
Westbrook had two steals in the opening minute, leading to a pair of dunks for an early 4-0 OKC edge. James came back with 14 points, Wade had two slams and Mario Chalmers and Bosh added easy buckets to boost the Heat to a 22-8 lead at 5:36. The Thunder had seven turnovers in the early going and nine in the period.
Miami shot a sizzling 76.2 percent and led 34-17 after the first quarter.
The lead reached 19 points on a Wade jumper early in the second, but the Thunder slowly chipped away at its deficit as the frame went on. Durant's 1- footed jumper from the nail cut it back to single digits at 43-34. Durant then came up with a loose ball in the closing seconds and fired a pass ahead to Westbrook, whose slam with 3.9 ticks remaining made it 54-47 at the half.
After Ibaka opened the second half with a putback layup, James bookended a 10-0 surge with jumpers for a 15-point margin.
The margin reached 22 points before the Thunder made one final push late in the third. Durant scored nine points during a 12-1 surge to cap the frame, cutting the deficit to 76-65.
Ray Allen's 3-ball started the fourth and Bosh scored five straight to all but seal the outcome early in the final period. Miami led comfortably the rest of the way.
Miami has now won four of the last five regular season games against the Thunder ... OKC's reserves outscored their counterparts, 21-11 ... Ibaka had 14 points ... The loss snapped a three-game Thunder winning streak ... OKC center Kendrick Perkins left early in the third quarter with a left groin strain and did not return.
Feb 20 10:50 PM
- MIAMI: 76
OKLAHOMA CITY: 65
End of 3rd
Feb 20 10:12 PM
- MIAMI: 54
OKLAHOMA CITY: 47
Feb 20 9:23 PM
- MIAMI: 34
OKLAHOMA CITY: 17
End of 1st
Feb 20 8:44 PM
- MIAMI: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 11:47
Feb 20 8:18 PM
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