Durant helps Thunder crack Heat in Finals opener
By Steve Ginsburg
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Kevin Durant won the opening round of his highly anticipated duel with LeBron James, scoring 36 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-94 victory over the Miami Heat in the opening game of the NBA Finals on Tuesday.
The NBA scoring champion hit 12-of-20 shots and added eight rebounds to help the Western Conference champions outscore the Heat by 18 points 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.
"This level of basketball is the hardest we play, and we just want to take it slow and take it a possession at a time.
"Guys got to just continue to believe in themselves. If we do that as a group, we'll be all right. It took us a couple minutes to get the nervousness out of us."
James, a three-time MVP, scored 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting, while adding nine rebounds, but it was Durant who triggered the Thunder's turnaround.
"They didn't make many mistakes in the fourth quarter," James said of the Thunder's 31-21 advantage in the final period. "I don't think we made many mistakes in the fourth quarter, it's just they made more plays, especially offensively.
"They made more shots. Russell made some big‑time shots, KD (Durant) made some big‑time shots. So I think that's what it's about." Continued...