Nightly Grades: Durant dazzles as the Thunder top the Heat
The Thunder take down the Heat behind another Durant performance, the Suns win a shootout, the Sixers win at the buzzer and the Timberwolves get over .500.
Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.
LeBron James and the Heat no longer own Kevin Durant and the Thunder. The six-game winning streak is over, and Durant outplayed James in a terrific back-and-forth that ended with the Thunder winning 112-95.
The Heat led 18-2, but after Scott Brooks subbed Kendrick Perkins, the game turned. OKC outscored Miami 110-80 from that point on, and the Thunder got major contributions from Jeremy Lamb (18 points) and Derek Fisher (5-5 from 3). That's now nine straight for the Thunder -- all without Russell Westbrook -- and Durant has quite possibly land a hand on the MVP.
Second straight game missing James Harden, a second straight impressive win for the Rockets. They did it with Dwight Howard as an offensive focal point, but Chandler Parsons was excellent with 26 points and Jeremy Lin ran the show beautifully.
|B||Evan Turner at the buzzer!|
|B||Kyle Lowry would very much like to be an All-Star. The Raptors beat the Magic, and Lowry went for a smooth 33 points and 11 assists.|
|B||It was against the Bucks, but so what. The Suns went on the road, with a banged up team and dropped 126 behind 30 from Goran Dragic.|
Another bid to get over .500, another failure for the Wizards. This one's excusable as they were on the second of a back-to-back playing on the road against the Clippers. And they gave them a good run anyway.
You can't fault the Heat for getting run over by the Durant train. But they got worked in this game. And don't use the "they didn't care" excuse. They cared. A lot. It's just that once the Thunder made their adjustment, the Heat couldn't find one of their own, and the game swung a full 40 points.
It's a disconcerting loss for the Heat, but then again, this is a team prepping for June. They want to beat top tier competition and letting the Thunder get off the schneid is bad, but the Heat aren't going to worry about this one too long.
The Spurs are slipping. They're severely banged up, and looking really old right now.
|F||The Mavericks played pretty well, in truth. Dirk Nowitzki looked like it was 2005 as he dropped 38 with 17 rebounds, but the Mavs losing at home to the Harden-less Rockets? That's bad.|
Jordan Bell had himself a night against Portland
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