The Oklahoma City Thunder have lived under the shadow of the Miami Heat for two years. Although the Thunder had a better record and a bigger hot streak than the Heat before their meeting on Jan. 29, Miami still has the edge in the big picture as the two-time champions. However, if the Thunder keep having the kind of runs they had in their 112-95 win at Miami, that might change this summer after all.
Oklahoma City hardly looked like a champion in the opening minutes, as Miami jumped ahead by as many as 18 points in the first quarter. Usually, the Heat tend to start lethargically and then turn the switch on late, but the situation was reversed this time. In this case, the Heat turned the switch off far too soon, while the Thunder made them pay from behind the arc.
The Thunder didn't need Kevin Durant to have his now customary 30+ point game, although he did get 33 points anyway. Yet the biggest factor in Oklahoma City's win was the team's 16 three-pointers, with four each coming from Durant and Jeremy Lamb, along with five from Derek Fisher.
In contrast, Miami was only three-for-19 in its three-point shots, which cancelled out a 51.4 percent shooting night overall. LeBron James technically topped Durant with 34 points, but few of them made a real difference once the Thunder took control in the second half.
This was a direct contrast to the 2012 NBA Finals, when the Heat swept three straight games from the Thunder in Miami to win their first title. With the Thunder now topping the Western Conference -- even without an injured Russell Westbrook -- and the Heat being the defending champions, a finals rematch will be considered very likely.
As such, Oklahoma City has to hope it didn't use up all its good fortune and hot streaks in Miami last night. Of course, if the Heat could give up a 35-point swing to the Thunder, they have a longer way to go to get back to the finals, much less secure a three-peat.