After the game, LeBron James said that teammate chemistry was the key to the game, but more honestly it was team biased officiating.
The Miami Heat seemed to get every single call, except for a flop non-call by Chris Bosh. In general, it looked like the referees were swayed by the home crowd.
Whether it was a phantom call against Dwayne Wade or a light graze against Lebron James, the officials made one sided calls the entire game. Even against these odds, the Thunder saw themselves leading by in the fourth. There was only seven minutes to play and the Thunder led by 6, but they went scoreless for four straight minutes and eventually lost the game.
Bouncing back from his previous struggles, Russell Westbrook had a solid game, shooting 44% from the floor, although he did miss two clutch tree pointers (one for four on the night).
Kevin Durant also had a nice game, but the third part of the equation, James Harden, really struggled as he went 2-10 and missed all four of his three point attempts.
The Thunder didn’t lose because of their sixth man’s struggles, but because of their own struggles from the free point line. They only shot 62.5% there (15-24), while the Heat shot 88.6 percent from the line (31-35.)
Except for two clutch free throws from Kendrick Perkins and a gift and score from Thabo Sefolosha (Wade fouled him but there wasn’t a three point play,) the Thunder basically curled up and died down the stretch. Kevin Durant wasn’t his usual self, missing a number of jumpers from the right wing, but all were difficult shots in isolation.
Which underscores the problem. The Heat, ironically considering the lack of talent around the Big Three, played a game of ball distribution down the stretch (save for a two possession stint with three minutes to go) pushing the pace and attacking, while the Thunder played with basically no distribution whatsoever, unless you count the offensive rebound tips.
This and the one sided officiating doomed them from the start. Losing game three usually means losing the series, but considering the superhuman free throw job done by the Heat and the uncharacteristically poor free throw percentage by Thunder, they still have a chance to pull out a series win.
If the split the next two games, the Thunder will have games six and seven at home, where they have only lost once this playoff season.