The Thunder used a dominant fourth-quarter performance by star Kevin Durant to earn a resounding win over the Heat and take a 1-0 lead in the 2012 NBA 2K12 Simulated Finals. Durant scored 17 of his 36 points in the final frame, leading Oklahoma City to a 91-76 victory at home.
The Heat came out firing on all cylinders, taking 22-10 lead midway through the first quarter. Miami was agressive from the outset, sending Serge Ibaka to the bench with two fouls just two minutes into the game. However, after the early run, Miami failed to take advantage of Ibaka's absence, settling for midrange jump shots.
Russell Westbrook sparked the Thunder's first big run of the game with a two-handed windmill jam, sending Oklahoma City on a 16-2 run spanning the first and second quarters. That run including a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Durant, which seemed to awaken the Thunder crowd.
Through the second and third quarters, the game was a back-and-forth affair, with 17 lead changes and six ties. The Thunder were able to make life more difficult for the Heat on the defensive end, thanks to Ibaka's ability to stay out of foul trouble. After playing just six minutes in the first half, Ibaka played eight in the third quarter, altering multiple shots inside.
Life got more difficult for the Heat when Mike Miller was forced to leave the game due to back spasms. He's questionable for Game 2. After leading by one at halftime, the Heat found themselves down by two entering the fourth quarter.
The game turned when Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made a calculated risk to get LeBron James some rest at the start of the fourth quarter. The move backfired badly, as Kevin Durant went off, while Dwyane Wade was unable to create any offense for Miami. The Thunder were up 12 by the time James got back in, and by that point his contributions were too little, too late.
Miami turned the ball over seven times in the fourth quarter -- after turning it over just four times in the first 36 minutes -- leading to easy fast break points for Oklahoma City. The Thunder used the transition opportunities to shoot 61% from the field in the final 12 minutes, outscoring Miami 27-14 down the stretch.
Durant finished the game with 36 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and two steals while shooting 13-of-24 from the field. James had a team-high 24 for Miami, but just four in the fourth quarter. The Thunder's big three of Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 70 points, nearly outscoring the Heat on their own.
Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night, the off day between the real life Games 1 and 2.