OKC sweeps past Heat, wins third in a row, 93-75

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Thunder center Steven Adams attempts a tip-in while guarded by Michael Beasley (30) ad Chris Anderson (11).
Russell Westbrook blocks a shot by Miami's Goran Dragic during first half action.
Oklahoma City's Anthony Morrow attempts a reverse layup against the Heat. Morrow finished with 12 points.
Mitch McGary tries to block a shot by Miami's Chris "Birdman" Anderson.
Dion Waiter dunks two of his 10 points. Waiters also had four rebounds and three assists.
Russell Westbrook looks for an opening while guarded by Miami's Mario Chalmers.

By Tim Farley

A high-octane Miami offense averaging more than 100 points the last three games was derailed Sunday as the Oklahoma City Thunder sailed to a 93-75 win over the once-dominant Heat squad at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Heat jumped out to a quick 14-9 lead, but that lasted less than a minute as the Thunder defense clamped down and the trio of Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters and Russell Westbrook combined for eight straight points and a 17-14 Oklahoma City lead.

The Thunder never trailed again.

“I thought it was a balanced attack on both ends of the floor,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “I thought we were moving the ball and got a lot of open looks. Defensively, I thought the last game in the fourth quarter kind of piggy-backed on this game. Defensively, we good throughout the game, take away the 10 offensive rebounds in the first half.”

The Thunder accepted the challenge of shouting down the Heat and its primary scoring threat Dwayne Wade, who was averaging 28 points in the last 10 games.

“I thought we did a good job guarding him, just making his shots and catches tough,” Brooks said. “Then, (Goran) Dragic, we didn’t want to give him a lot of points in transition. I think they were averaging 20 the last four or five games.”

Oklahoma City held Wade and Dragic to 12 points each. As a team, Miami had 12 fast break points.

Although registering a triple-double is considered a rare feat in the NBA, Westbrook has made it almost a nightly occurrence. On Sunday, Westbrook started off setting up his teammates with seven assists in the first quarter and finished with 17. Westbrook also had 12 points and 10 rebounds with the last three boards coming in the fourth quarter. It was Westbrook’s 10th triple-double of the season. Oscar Robertson holds the NBA record for most triple-doubles in one season with 41 in a 79-game schedule.

However, it was Kanter who kept Oklahoma City close in the early moments, scoring 11 of the team’s first 12 points. He finished the game as the Thunder’s leading scorer with 27 points on 12 of 20 shots and three free throws.

The battle of the boards was an easy one for the Thunder, grabbing 52 caroms, including 22 offensive rebounds, compared to 40 for the Heat.

“It’s a challenge,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Oklahoma City’s rebounding ability. “They’re big, relentless, they never stop coming and never let you off the hook. Then a lot of that is their dribble penetration from Westbrook or Waiters. It gets your defense to collapse and get bodies off of guys. They punished us in the paint tonight, no question.”

The Thunder is the top rebounding team in the league, averaging 47 boards per game.

Kanter had 12 rebounds and center Steven Adams had 10 plus 10 points. Mitch McGary grabbed eight rebounds to go with his 14 points. Sharp-shooting three-point specialist Anthony Morrow tallied 14 points on six of 11 shots, including two long-range buckets.

Miami (32-37) came within a single point, 25-24, to begin the second quarter but that as close as the visitors would get to the red-hot Thunder, which has won three in a row and five of the last six games. The Thunder defense held Miami to 17 points in the second and fourth quarters while scoring a combined 50 points in those two quarters.

Oklahoma City (40-30) led 48-38 at halftime, was held to 18 points in the third quarter but broke away for good in the fourth with a 27-point output.

The Thunder’s biggest lead was 22 points, which came late in the fourth quarter when Morrow hit an 11-foot running jump shot giving Oklahoma City a 93-71 advantage.

“This team just played more desperate than us. They played at a playoff level and we played at a regular season level and that’s the difference in the game,” Miami guard Dwayne Wade said.

Spoelstra also talked about Oklahoma City’s quick pace.

“They kept coming in waves. They have a unique combination of speed and quickness that really got us out of our rhythm,” he said.

The win kept Oklahoma City in the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, three games ahead of New Orleans and Phoenix. New Orleans lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 107-100 on Sunday. The Thunder hosts the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday while New Orleans plays Houston and the Suns host Sacramento on Wednesday.

GAMES NOTES: Oklahoma City scored more points in the paint than Miami (56-40), notched more second chance points (17-9) and more fast break points (21-12)…The Thunder shot 44 percent from the field compared to 39 for Miami…Both teams committed 18 turnovers…Oklahoma City’s early game is April 5 when the Houston Rockets come to town for a noon tipoff. The Thunder has 12 games remaining, six at home and six on the road.


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