By Shandel Richardson, Sun Sentinel –
MIAMI — There is no need in worrying about any of the Oklahoma City Thunder players being fined by the NBA.
For the most part, they refused to speak on anything involving the officiating in Thursday’s 100-96 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. There were a few plays that could have gone either way, but the Thunder are more focused on what they can control.
“Officials aren’t going to be perfect,” guard Derek Fisher said. “As players, we’re not perfect. Whether they make or miss a call the right way, you can’t worry about those things. You can’t use that as an excuse for not doing the things that you’re capable of as a team. Referees don’t shoot free throws for you. They don’t box out for you. They don’t talk on defense for you. They don’t make the extra pass for you.”
The most controversial of the calls was forward Kevin Durant not drawing a foul on the Heat’s LeBron James in the closing seconds. Durant missed a shot that would have tied the score. Replays appeared to show James making contact. There was also a questionable goal-tending call on Serge Ibaka on a Chris Bosh shot attempt in the first half.
“I was just worrying about the shot,” Durant said. “I really couldn’t tell you. I’ve got to watch the film, I guess.”
Center Kendrick Perkins was the lone Thunder player to publicly say he thought Durant was fouled. But even he said the play would have not mattered if Oklahoma City played up to its capabilities.
“In my opinion, I think it was (a foul), but I’m not the referee,” Perkins said. “He must have seen something different. But it shouldn’t have come down to that possession. We should have put ourselves in a position that it didn’t come down to the last shot.”
Added coach Scott Brooks, “I’m going to focus on the first six to eight minutes of the game. That’s more important than the last minutes of the game.”
An eye for Battier
Expect Heat forward Shane Battier to show up more on the scouting report. Battier has been arguably the Heat’s most important player outside of James.
He is averaging 17 points a game in the series, shooting 69 percent from the 3-point line. Ibaka said the solution may be playing less help defense on Dwyane Wade and James in order to account for Battier at all times.
“For any team, the more guys that are involved offensively, the tougher is it to defend them,” Fisher said. “They have great players in LeBron, Dwyane and Chris Bosh. They get a lot of focus, but it’s always going to come down to playing in a way that allows other guys to make contributions as well.”
After outscoring the Heat 24-4 in transition points in Game 1, the Thunder experienced a huge drop off in Game 2.
Oklahoma City held an 11-10 advantage in the stat, but did not get going until the second half. They went scoreless in fastbreak points in the decisive first half.
The Heat shot 47 percent from the field, which limited the amount of transition opportunities for the Thunder.
“If we’re going to take the ball out of the net every time, we can’t really run that way,” guard Thabo Sefolosha said. “It starts with the defense.”