On February 9, 2014, two of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) best teams—the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder—met at Chesapeake Energy Arena to face off in a potential “NBA Finals preview”. The match-up feature the two best players on the planet LeBron James and Kevin Durant. These two are highly regarded as the leading candidates for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. In addition, OKC’s All-Star Point Guard Russell Westbrook made his return to the court after having his third knee surgery within a year.
Though the Thunder were the first team to put points on the board, James quickly responded by scoring 12-straight points for the Heat. Miami’s lead grew as the game went on; Oklahoma City would never be on top again. While LeBron shined, Durant was relatively quiet early on. However, he would end up recording 28 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in this match.
In the fourth quarter, the Heat were hit with a minor scare when James started gushing blood out of his nose. It turned out the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka hit him in the face as he was lifting off to dunk. James would finish the play, but leave the game with 5:50 remaining in regulation. He ended his night with 33 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.
With their best player being evaluated in the locker room, the Miami Heat did not even glance back as they finished the fourth quarter strong. Dwyane Wade had 24 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds on the night as the Heat defeated the Thunder 103-81 in Oklahoma City. They will head back to Miami to face the Chicago Bulls on Sunday at 3:30 pm Eastern Time.