Durant wins the opening round of highly-anticipated duel with James
Kevin Durant won the opening round of his highly-anticipated duel with LeBron James, scoring 36 points to lead Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-94 victory over Miami Heat in the opening game of the NBA finals on Tuesday.
Durant hit 12-of-20 shots and added eight rebounds to help the Western Conference champion outscore Heat in the second half to draw first blood in the best-of-seven series.
“You know, this is a tough series,” said Durant, whose 17 fourth-quarter points slammed the door shut on Miami.
Durant's tussle with James is widely regarded as a barometer for determining the league's best player, with both also seeking a first championship.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half, while adding eight rebounds and 11 assists overall.
The only other player scoring in double figures for Oklahoma City was forward Serge Ibaka, who scored 10.
Miami led by as many as 13 in the opening half but fell apart in the third quarter, and when Westbrook made a three-point play late in the closing seconds to give Thunder its first lead at 74-73, the Chesapeake Energy Arena erupted.
Game Two is also in Oklahoma City on Thursday before the series shifts to Miami for the next two contests.
Wade conceded Thunder “did a great job of turning up defensive pressure” in the second half.
Oklahoma City Thunder 105 (Kevin Durant 36, Russell Westbrook 27, Serge Ibaka 10) bt Miami 94 (LeBron James 30, Wade 19) (Thunder leads series 1-0).