Ibaka leads Thunder charge Monday morning
After a thrilling conclusion to Game 2, the 2012 NBA Final between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the 2006 NBA Champion Miami Heat is tied 1-1 when the best-of-seven series continues live on ESPN this coming Monday morning at 2.00am.
The Heat will host the next three games at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami and will fight to close out the Thunder on their own floor. Oklahoma, meanwhile, will look to battle it out in South Florida and do everything in their power to bring the series back home to Oklahoma City if necessary.
The Miami Heat jumped out to a big lead (18-2) in the first quarter of Game 2 and then held off a furious Oklahoma City rally to beat the Thunder 100-96 and tie the NBA Finals at one apiece. This year’s Most Valuable Player LeBron James shone with 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Dwyane Wade added 24 points on 10-for-20 shooting, to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Chris Bosh, who returned from an abdominal injury in the earlier series against Boston, got his confidence back, pouring in 16 while grabbing massive 15 rebounds, seven of which were on the offensive end.
The Heat took advantage of their 18-2 early lead in the first quarter and managed to carry it to the end. After losing the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks last year, Miami is aware that every game counts and will want to make sure this time they are ready.The Thunder, on the other hand, was led by the inspiring Kevin Durant who had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but his shot bounced off the rim. Durant thought he had been fouled by LeBron James, but no whistles blew.
Durant scored 32 points, but took only six foul shots, about half his normal number. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook got off to a bad start with 1-for-8 shooting, but finished strong, scoring 18 points in the second-half to end the game with 27. He also had eight rebounds and seven assists. James Harden bounced back from a bad first game to score 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Congolese Serge Ibaka was formidable in the paint as always and recorded five huge blocks. Oklahoma’s coach Scott Brooks knows that to beat the Heat, the Thunder will need to be at their best. They will want to execute just that on the floor on Monday.
This year’s NBA Finals are broadcast to 215 countries in 47 languages. The NBA expects that over 278 million fans worldwide will follow the Finals through social media. Fourteen international networks are streaming the games for the very first time and they include broadcasters in Cameroon, Ghana and South Africa. For those fans in South Africa who will not be able to catch the Monday broadcast live, SABC 1 will air Game 3 with a delay the same day at 23.00.