The Oklahoma City Thunder had a chance to tie the game in the final second of Game 2, trailing by two with 12.3 seconds left.
Kevin Durant caught the inbound on the left baseline with LeBron James guarding him and tried to go for a quick score to catch LeBron off guard. LeBron fouled Durant but it wasn’t called. Heat win.
“On the last play, I figured they were going to go to him,” LeBron said. “He got a small step on me. I just wanted to try to keep a body on him, make him take a tough shot, and he’s made tough shots all year, all series, and just that one he missed. KD is an unbelievable talent. I think we all know that. We all see that. He can make every shot on the floor. Just try to keep a body on him, take contested shots. He got away from me a couple times, got a couple of 3s that I am not too happy about.”
It would have been nice to see the Thunder get a better look maybe with Durant at the top of the key but it was an opportunistic decision to go for that shot. Durant had an angle and didn’t get the call.
“You know, I think I shot a good shot,” Durant said. “That’s a shot I shoot all the time. I just missed. I was just worrying about the shot. I really couldn’t tell you. I’ve got to watch the film, I guess. I missed the shot man.”
No one will look at Durant and blame him for the Game 2 100-96 loss and nor should they. He scored 32 points (16 in the fourth) and was 12-for-22 from the field.
Russell Westbrook is the one taking all of the heat.
Westbrook scored 27 points on 10-of-26 shooting to go along with seven assists and eight rebounds. He shot a lot. He shot more than Durant. So it’s all his fault.
Westbrook has been criticized a ton over the past few seasons. Whenever the Thunder lose, people look at him as to why. He takes too many shots or needs to pass to Durant more. He never gets any credit when the Thunder win though. All of that is for Durant.
Westbrook is averaging 27-9-8 right now in the Finals but is shooting only 40 percent from the field and has attempted 50 shots in two games to Durant’s 42.
That doesn’t sound like a point guard and that’s because Westbrook really isn’t one. He is a playmaker. He is dynamic. He is the second best player on a team three wins away from an NBA title. He is Westbrook.
Scott Brooks and the Thunder don’t ask him to be a point guard either. They ask him to shoot and to play with his instinct and play harder than any player in the league for 48 minutes. That works for this team.
The problems with Durant not getting enough shots or Westbrook taking too many aren’t because of Westbrook. It’s the design of the offense and when it breaks down, it’s usually Westbrook who shoots.
The Heat came out more aggressive in Game 2 especially on defense and that’s why the Thunder fell behind 18-2. They need to match Miami’s intensity from the tip in Game 3 to avoid falling behind again.
When it comes to having to play with intensity, who would you rather have than Westbrook?