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June 14, 2012

Rest of series may not reflect Game 1

OKLAHOMA CITY — They say LeBron James will come out and guard Kevin Durant from the start, because you’ve got to put your best defender on the other team’s best player.

Doesn’t mean it will work. Doesn’t mean that won’t open other doors for the Thunder in Game 2, which tips off at 8 tonight inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. It doesn’t even mean the Heat had it all wrong in Game 1, when James came out guarding, of all people, Kendrick Perkins.

Because Durant hadn’t done too much through three quarters, and though he scored 17 in the fourth, maybe that’s just what he does in fourth quarters, like he’s been doing it in these playoffs all along against Dallas, Los Angeles, San Antonio and now Miami.

But maybe it’s a game changer, King James guarding KD the whole game. Maybe that’s the Heat’s ticket.

It is offered in the name of anything, however remote, remaining possible.

Because many things appear to be true after one game in this series, and just about all favor the winner of Game 1. Still, if you’re objective is imagining how it could all turn, that’s one way.

James clamps down on Durant and the Thunder are never the same, kind of like Oklahoma wasn’t the same, on both sides of the ball, that day Sam Bradford suffered a concussion at Texas Tech trying to make a tackle.

Just as likely — more likely — is the Thunder really find their game. It is not brought up often, but there is so much more upside with this basketball team.

Tuesday night, one line of questioning was why Oklahoma City didn’t come out playing hard.

“I know I could have played harder,” point guard Russell Westbrook said. “And our coaching staff and the other guys on the team just emphasized, once I started playing harder, everybody else will follow.”

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