The first game of the 2012 NBA Finals was decided late. The Oklahoma City Thunder started their comeback right as the buzzer sounded at the half and continued it right up through the final horn blew on the series opener. In the end, the Thunder beat the Miami Heat by a final score of 105-94, giving them a 1-0 series lead.
Peninsula Is Mightier explains the Heat's problems in the second half of Tuesday night's game:
Dwyane Wade had another one of those games where his explosiveness was missing and he mostly settled for jump shots, going just 5-19 from the field, but he did have a team-leading 8 assists. In order to beat the Thunder on the road, the Heat needed much more from Chris Bosh, who had just 10 points and 5 rebounds in 34 minutes, and he was not a factor defensively like he was against the Boston Celtics upon his return from injury. The Heat looked sluggish on both ends in the second half and were slow to set up their offense as the Thunder started picking up the pace and kept attacking the basket while making jumper after jumper.
The real culprit may have been something outside the players' control, the effects of playing a long series with the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Part of the overall team slump might have been fatigue, with coach Erik Spoelstra making a curious decision to reduce his rotation to just 7 players after coming off a grueling 7-game series against the Boston Celtics. This may have been due to to the fact that James Jones was held out of the game because of migraine symptoms. Joel Anthony was only used for two minutes and Ronny Turiaf did not play at all.
There is still plenty of basketball left to be played, and it's far too soon for any finger pointing said SB Nation's Heat blog.
Realistically speaking, tt was going to be borderline impossible to win both games in Oklahoma City. If the Heat can build on the game plan from the first half and be able to stick to it while getting better games from Wade and Bosh (and an aggressive LeBron in crunch time) then they have a solid chance of earning the split with a chance to turn the series around back home.
Game 2 of the series happens Thursday night.
Stick with this StoryStream for all your news throughout the 2012 NBA Finals. For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, visit Welcome To Loud City and SB Nation Kansas City. For all your Finals analysis, visit SB Nation's NBA hub.