Battier, Chalmers aide James' start; Heat lead Thunder at the half
Oklahoma City, OK – In a series with stars at every turn, it was two of Miami's complementary pieces that stole the show during the first half of this year's NBA Finals.
Shane Battier scored 13 points and Mario Chalmers added 10, as Miami jumped out early and maintained a 54-47 lead over Oklahoma City at halftime of Game 1.
With names like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the floor, it looked at times like the Thunder forgot all about Battier, who drained three barely-contested threes as part of a 5-for-6 shooting half, while Chalmers reached double figures on six shots.
James still scored 14 points and Bosh chipped in with seven, while Wade was relatively quiet with six points, but he set up teammates off the pick-and- roll to the tune of five assists.
Durant led Oklahoma City with 13 points, Serge Ibaka registered 10 points and Westbrook donated nine for the Thunder.
This series is full of storylines highlighted by the matchup between a three- time MVP (James) and a three-time scoring champion (Durant). Each is the leader, but not the sole star on their respective outfit. Wade has already won the championship James covets, while Westbrook is at times the forgotten scoring machine cast in Durant's shadow.
Both franchises have won one NBA title with Miami's coming in 2006 and the Thunder's dating back to when the franchise was in Seattle in 1979.
Neither team showed nerves early, as each came out firing and connecting from all points of the floor. Miami made 5-of-6 treys in the opening period, including Battier's first triple for an early 8-2 lead. The Duke product hit three of them in the period and his final one was followed by a Chalmers triple that doubled up the home team at 20-10.
The Thunder trailed by 11 on two occasions, but trimmed the deficit to 29-22 by quarter's end thanks to James Harden's jumper over Chalmers at the buzzer.
Miami continued its efficient offensive play early in the second quarter, embarking on an 8-2 scoring stretch punctuated by a James slam in transition for a 37-24 lead.
The margin stood in that general area until late in the half as Ibaka's layup and Westbrook's bucket from in close sliced the deficit into single digits.