Oklahoma City had one of its worst shooting nights of the season. The way the Thunder played defense, hardly anyone noticed.
Except the Miami Heat, that is.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points on 12-for-21 shooting, Russell Westbrook added 18 and the Thunder frustrated the Heat’s offense all night on the way to a 96-85 victory in Miami last night.
James Harden scored 12 points for the Thunder, who have won five straight. Oklahoma City shot just 40 percent, and had been 7-13 when connecting on less than 43 percent of its chances this season.
It didn’t matter after holding the Heat to 38.5 percent shooting, plus having a dominating 24-10 edge in second-chance points.
Chris Bosh had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and LeBron James finished with 19 for the Heat, who had won three straight and were averaging 114 points in their last two games.
And the Heat were hopping mad as this one slipped away.
Miami had a chance with 3 1/2 minutes left, Wade getting the ball in transition and the Heat down by 7. He missed a layup and contended he got fouled — replays showed he clearly had a case, with Serge Ibaka grabbing him from behind — but nothing was called.
That is, until Wade overreacted.
He slammed his hand into the padding around the basket support, an unusual display for him, and Greg Willard responded with a technical after Harden made a 3-pointer. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra earned a technical as well, Durant made one of the two free throws, and the Thunder lead was 11 with 3:11 left.
The Heat are now three games behind Chicago and the Celtics in the race for the No. 1 seed, but in actuality, the gap is wider. Chicago and Boston both are four games ahead in the loss column, plus hold tiebreakers over Miami.
Wade tried giving Miami a lift with eight minutes left, lurking from behind to swat a layup attempt by Eric Maynor several rows into the seats. But on the continuation of Oklahoma City’s possession, former Heat guard Daequan Cook made a 3-pointer to stretch the Thunder cushion to 76-66.
Durant followed with a 20-footer on the next trip and the lead was 12.
Nuggets 102, Hawks 87 — Nene scored 20 points, J.R. Smith added all of his 15 in the fourth quarter, and visiting Denver ran away to another win, beating Atlanta.
Mavericks 112, Warriors 106 — Dirk Nowitzki had 34 points and 13 rebounds, and Dallas rallied from 18 points down to knock off Golden State in Oakland, Calif.
Magic 93, Bucks 89 — Dwight Howard had 31 points and 22 rebounds to lead Orlando to an overtime victory in Milwaukee that wrapped up the Magic’s 3-2 road trip.
Hornets 100, Suns 95 — Chris Paul had 26 points and nine assists, and host New Orleans dropped Phoenix for its fourth straight loss.
Rockets 94, Bobcats 78 — Kevin Martin scored 21 points, Chuck Hayes matched his season high with 17 rebounds and host Houston never trailed in cruising by Charlotte.
Pistons 107, Raptors 93 — Richard Hamilton scored 24 points, Greg Monroe added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and host Detroit ended a three-game losing streak by toppling Toronto.
Jazz 119, Timberwolves 104 — C.J. Miles scored a career-high 40 points and cemented his new starting role as Utah cruised past Minnesota in Salt Lake City, giving Ty Corbin his first back-to-back wins as coach.
Cavaliers 97, Kings 93 — Ramon Sessions scored 20 points to lead Cleveland to a rare road victory in Sacramento, Calif. Marcus Thornton had 23 points for the Kings, who have lost seven of eight.
76ers 104, Clippers 94 — Jodie Meeks scored 22 points and Jrue Holiday added 9 of his 20 in the final 6 1/2 minutes to lead Philadelphia in Los Angeles.