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Tue, Nov 17, 2009 - 7:30 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Durant's 32 paces Thunder past Heat

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MIAMI (AP)

With plenty of good seats still available around the end of the first quarter, the Miami Heat gave some upper-deck fans a rare chance to move into the lower level. If nothing else, they got a better look at Kevin Durant and the much-improved Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant had 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Russell Westbrook finished with 24 points and seven assists and the Thunder added to their surprising start by beating the Heat 100-87 on Tuesday night. An early 20-1 run put the Thunder in control, and a 14-2 burst in the third quarter helped seal it for Oklahoma City. "They outplayed us with their athleticism, with their length, with their effort, with their energy, all those areas," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They just brought more of it." The Thunder got off to a 6-32 start last year. This season, they're 6-5. "We wanted to start off playing basketball that our fans could be proud of," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We are creating an identity of playing winning basketball." Jeff Green scored 13 for Oklahoma City, which got 10 points apiece from Nick Collison and Nenad Krstic. Dwyane Wade had 22 points on 6 of 19 shooting and Daequan Cook scored 14 of his 17 in the fourth quarter for Miami. Jermaine O'Neal collected 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who visit Atlanta on Wednesday for the first time since the Hawks beat Miami in Game 7 of last season's Eastern Conference opening-round series. Westbrook's 3-pointer with 6:40 left might have been the biggest blow, considering it came after he lost the dribble, while being closely guarded by Mario Chalmers and with the shot clock running down. He swished it anyway, putting Oklahoma City up 87-72. Miami made a run, with Cook scoring five quick points and Wade hitting a 3-pointer to get the Heat within nine, but Durant answered with a turnaround jumper and the Thunder weren't seriously threatened again. "We're getting better every game," Westbrook said. Oklahoma City trailed 16-11 midway through the opening quarter. Everything quickly turned its way. The 20-1 run came over an 8-minute stretch. Durant scored 10 points (plus had two assists), Miami missed 10 straight shots and a sequence at the end of the first quarter further soured the Heat mood. Durant tried a beat-the-clock 3-pointer from near the Thunder bench. Wade contested the shot, was called for a foul and argued vehemently enough to earn a technical as well. Durant made all four free throws to give the Thunder a 25-17 lead, and Oklahoma City scored the first six points of the second period to stretch the lead to 14.
"You've got to take your hat off to that kid," Heat forward Quentin Richardson said. "He's 6-foot-11 and playing like a 2 guard. That's a tough cover for anybody in the NBA, as tall as he is, as quick as he is, and he has an unbelievable jump shot." Miami made its run, largely coinciding with Durant not scoring for the final 4:46 of the half. The Heat scored 13 of the final 19 points of the second quarter, closing to 45-42 at the break. But the third quarter, all Oklahoma City again. Westbrook had nine in the period, Durant had eight more and the Heat opened by shooting 4 of 12 from the floor. Another big run - the 14-2 spurt - did most of the damage, as Oklahoma City stretched a tenuous 51-48 edge into a 65-50 lead, and held that 15-point margin at 74-59 entering the fourth. Miami was never closer than eight from there.

Notes

Charge? Block? How about both? Green and O'Neal were both called for fouls 1 minute after tipoff, when officials apparently had trouble deciding if Green was guilty of charging or O'Neal guilty of blocking. "Ain't never heard that before," Wade announced, before the teams had a jump ball at midcourt to decide possession. ... The Thunder had six players with two fouls in the first half, while the Heat only had seven total fouls in the opening 24 minutes. ... O'Neal and Westbrook were called for technicals after a minor skirmish late in the first half. ... Miami's Udonis Haslem left with under 2 minutes remaining to get his strained left shoulder checked. He is expected to play in Atlanta.
Tagged: Thunder, Heat

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