Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 41 points in the second half and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied to beat Miami 105-94 in game one of the NBA finals on Tuesday.
Durant scored 23 of his game-high 36 points in the second half and Westbrook had 12 third-quarter points for the Thunder, who kept their home record perfect in the playoffs with their ninth win in a row at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I am just playing off my teammates and not trying to force anything,” Durant said. “Everybody came to play and we stuck together.”
Westbrook finished with 27 points and 11 assists while Serge Ibaka had 10 points and six rebounds for the Thunder, who are making their first NBA Finals appearance since 1996 when they were based in Seattle as the SuperSonics.
Game two of the best-of-seven series is set for Thursday in Oklahoma City.
“We showed a lot of toughness in the second half,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Really battling and fighting for every possession. I give our guys a lot of credit. They did a great job of competing in the second half.”
LeBron James had a team-high 30 points and Dwyane Wade finished with 19 points and eight assists for the Heat, who lost to the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s finals. The Heat are chasing Miami’s first NBA title since 2006.
Durant, making his first appearance in the NBA finals, put on a shooting clinic in the second half, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter.
The series is billed as three-time NBA Most Valuable Player James against three-time scoring champion Durant, who has bragging rights at least for now.
The Heat hope to silence the critics and prove they are capable of winning the titles expected of them when James, Wade and Chris Bosh came together in Miami in 2010.