Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

June 13, 2012

NBA Finals questions: How will Heat bounce back?

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder ran away with Game 1 of the NBA Finals 105-94, controlling the second half and rallying from a 13-point deficit to protect home court against the Miami Heat. But as Heat guard Dwyane Wade said, the opener is "just a game to see" what both teams are going to do and then start making adjustments.

With Game 2 looming Thursday night, here's five questions and answers about what to look for:

CAN ANYBODY STOP KEVIN DURANT?

LeBron James says yes, and it starts with not giving the three-time scoring champion open looks. Durant was left unguarded several times and he didn't miss the open 3-pointers and jumpers. James says those shots have to go, though Thunder opponents have been trying to do that since Durant hit the game-winner against Dallas in Game 1 of the first round. Durant also scored 16 straight points — and 18 overall in the fourth quarter — to help the Thunder tie the West finals at two games apiece.

IS LeBRON TRYING TOO HARD TO CLOSE?

James scored an NBA Finals career-high 30 points, seven in the fourth quarter, but that wasn't enough for Miami and it won't be enough to squelch the "closer" questions. Kevin Durant outscored him by 10 — the same margin the Thunder had on the Heat — in the fourth quarter of Game 1, which will only fuel the fire. Durant made six of 10 shots and scored 17 points in the final stanza, continuing to cement himself as the best closer in the game. James was only 2 for 6 with one assist, opening himself up to more scrutiny after he did close out Boston in the East finals. James had been the game's dominant player through three quarters but will have to find a way to be more productive against Oklahoma City defensive whiz Thabo Sefolosha, who guarded him in the fourth.

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