Welcome back to our regularly scheduled Big Game Recaps and Previews. Thanks for being patient during March Madness. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.
Thunder 93 Heat 98
This was the best regular season NBA game of the year so far. Intensity was high from the opening tip until the 4th quarter. Guys were getting chippy, the Thunder had two flagrant fouls early and both teams played terrific defense. Lebron and Durant showed why the MVP conversation starts and ends with the two of them. James won the individual battle as well as the game with an impressive 34 point (10/20 from the floor), 7 rebound, 10 assist and 4 steal game. Durant scored 31, including a couple monster dunks in the lane. It’s incredibly impressive how much his handling has improved. At one point he even broke down James off the dribble. Dwayne Wade added 19 points, but did not look sharp for most of the game. Chris Bosh had 12 and is clearly dealing with some kind of injury. Russell Westbrook scored 28 for the Thunder, but took 26 shots to get it.
As I mentioned, this was intense, playoff style basketball all game long and the lead never got too large in either team’s favor. Miami led by 7 entering the 4th quarter, but OKC made an immediate run to took the lead. Once they did, Lebron took over slashing to the basket and hitting Shane Battier twice in the corner for an open three to go back ahead. The Thunder would never regain the lead, but Durant had a great look at a tying three with 16 seconds left but couldn’t get it to fall.
Let’s all hope we’re lucky enough to watch these two teams play seven games in June.
The Masters, Opening Round (8am-3pm, Golf Channel: 3pm-7:30, ESPN):
Charlie wrote his Masters preview yesterday, and I don’t have too much to add other than watch out for Luke Donald. Not sure why the Jumbo would fail to mention the World’s #1 golfer, but that’s what I’m here for. You’re welcome.
Yankees at Rays (3:10): These two start a three game series Friday and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Both teams expect to make the playoffs, but the loser of this series will have their work cut out for them as they’ll only have 159 games left to try and make it up.
Real Zaragoza at Barcelona (2:00pm): You know that means…LIONEL MESSI!! In his last match (I think that’s the term, right?), Messi scored 6 goals and single handedly solved Europe’s debt crisis. He’s amazing.