Heat Check: Road trip starts with speed bump in loss to Thunder
In a step back for their playoff aspirations, the Miami Heat fell flat in A 93-75 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.
Dwyane Wade started the game hot, knocking down his first four shots, but the Thunder kept pace, with Enes Kanter scoring 11 of his team’s first 15 points. The Heat shot 38.1 percent in the first quarter while struggling to contain the Thunder’s offensive onslaught led by Russell Westbrook, who had assists on seven of his team’s 11 first-quarter buckets.
Despite the Thunder outplaying the Heat through most of the first half, Hassan Whiteside helped his team stay within striking distance with 13 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes by halftime. The Thunder stayed in control of the game with their pace and by forcing Miami into 10 first-half turnovers.
Whiteside was taken out of the game minutes into the third quarter because of foul trouble, and despite Wade disappearing on offense, the Heat kept the deficit at single-digits by hitting timely baskets. Even still, the Thunder’s size proved too much for the Heat to overcome.
Westbrook struggled from the field but recorded his 10th triple-double of the season with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 17 of his team’s 25 assists.
Whiteside led the Heat with just 13 points until fouling out, a sign of the Heat’s weak offense in which they shot 39.5 percent for the game and went 3 of 18 from beyond the arc.
THE TURNING POINT
The Heat hung around for three quarters, before Oklahoma City blitzed them in the final quarter to turn the game into a blowout.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Kanter returned from a one-game absence because of an ankle injury to lead the Thunder’s offense. He mixed up his post game by slashing to the basket for easy baskets and was on point with his midrange shooting. He finished with a team-high 27 points and 12 rebounds.
STAT OF THE GAME
Oklahoma City won its 13th consecutive game against the Eastern Conference at home after dropping their first two games.
The Heat visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at 8 p.m.