OKLAHOMA CITY — After missing the previous 26 games with a knee injury, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook chose to make his return to the lineup against the defending champion Miami Heat. He said before the game that he still hasn’t gotten past losing to them two years ago in the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately for the Thunder, the Heat didn’t seem to really care who was in the lineup. They rolled over Oklahoma City 103-81 Thursday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The teams split the regular season series 1-1. But the talk after the game was how Miami came away with a statement win at the Thunder’s house.
“We just had a bad night,” Kevin Durant said. “We just have to move past it and get better from it. Get ready for the next one.”
Just as disconcerting for Oklahoma City fans was seeing MVP candidate Durant get outplayed by Miami’s reigning MVP, forward LeBron James.
While James knocked down 33 points to go along with seven rebounds and eight turnovers, Durant paced the Thunder with 28 points, eight rebounds and five turnovers.
It was James’ fourth consecutive game to go past the 30-point mark. He did this despite leaving the game with a bloody nose after being hit in the face by Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka before dunking on him.
According to the Heat, James was given a concussion test and was given the all-clear.
“He has a swollen nose now and it’s bleeding,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said. “We’ll evaluate when we get back to Miami. But it’s sore. He took a shot. He got hit pretty good though in the nose. I’m like everybody else, you’re used to seeing him like Superman, get up and sprint back even after tough hits and tough falls. So we knew something was up.”