Published June 13, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY – LeBron James put up the kind of point total he never had in the NBA Finals before, and it still wasn't enough.
It will take more from the rest of Miami's Big Three for the Heat to get past the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to go 11-for-30 from the field in Miami's 105-94 loss to Oklahoma City in Game 1 on Tuesday night, totaling 29 points to go with the 30 put up by James.
Wade was an inefficient 7 for 19 from the field but did have eight assists.
"I was attacking, I was getting my teammates shots and I got shots for myself. Attacking to me is just being aggressive. Some nights, I have big nights scoring and some nights I don't," Wade said. "That's been this season. That's just the way that it's designed for me."
The Thunder's trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden teamed up for 68 points and stormed back from 13 points down to defeat the Heat, who got 59 points from their three top scorers despite coach Erik Spoelstra shortening his rotation.
"We know we have to have more production for sure," said James, who had never scored more than 25 points in his two previous finals appearances. "We have to have more guys in there to give me and D-Wade a rest, and Shane (Battier). Shane played a lot of minutes. But Spo will figure that out."
Game 2 is Thursday night in Oklahoma City before the series shifts to Miami for the next three games.
"We're on the road, we come here, we try to win one," Wade said. "Now, we make the adjustments and we come out and we try to split the next game.
"I'm not worried about it. I'm sure we'll find some better opportunities for ourselves and we'll be more comfortable in Game 2."
The Heat did get significant scoring contributions from Battier and Mario Chalmers, but 23 of their 29 points came in the first half when Miami was in control.
The Thunder switched to a smaller lineup in the second half, going without their starting frontcourt of Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka and seemingly eliminating some of the open looks for Battier — who was matched up with Ibaka.
Battier and Chalmers, who were 9 for 12 overall and connected on five 3-pointers in the first half, attempted only four shots in the second as Miami's lead disappeared.
"I think we played our least intelligent half of basketball in about two months in the second half tonight," Battier said.
"In this league you have to move teams from side-to-side. You have to move bodies and you can't allow teams to lock in and stare at you," he added. "You try to make them move. In the first half we were moving them from side-to-side and we were able to get our attackers going. In the second half, we didn't do that as much."
After shooting 51 percent in the first half — and making six of 10 attempts from 3-point range — not much came easy for the Heat after halftime. The Thunder held Miami to 40 percent shooting and forced seven turnovers that contributed to an 11-0 scoring advantage on the fast break.
James had to score 16 of Miami's 40 points in the second half. Wade had 13, with two of his baskets coming after Oklahoma City's lead ballooned to double digits with less than 4 minutes left.
"We'll get him opportunities to attack. I think he had a couple of good opportunities to get into the paint there in the fourth, a couple maybe he wasn't able to convert," Spoelstra said. "But he was aggressive during that quarter. We'll try to get him in places where he can continue to be aggressive."
Bosh has been easing his way back from an abdominal injury that caused him to miss nine games between the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals. He played 34 minutes — his most since the injury — but missed seven of 11 shots and had 10 points and five rebounds.
Spoelstra opted to continue bringing Bosh off the bench for the fourth straight game, after he had started every game he played before the injury.
It seemed to be a good move when Miami got out to a strong start, but Bosh couldn't provide any spark in the third quarter as Oklahoma City was quickly erasing a seven-point halftime deficit.
"He's been very accepting of just trying to fit in," Spoelstra said, "but I think we're going to need more from him offensively and try to get him in spots where he's able to be aggressive."