You would think the Warriors, currently the hottest team in the league, would make quick work of the middling Heat. But if you only watched the first few minutes, you would think Miami was the two-time defending champion, not Golden State.
Before the Warriors even looked like they were aware that it was game night, the Heat held a 26-7 lead. They were putting it on the Warriors on both ends of the floor - the clamps were on defensively, the offense was flowing beautifully, and they were out-hustling the champs.
Eventually, the beast that is the Warriors woke up, behind the hot hands of the three players they’re sending to the 2019 All-Star Game.
Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson took turns letting their all-world scoring abilities shine, as the Warriors quickly erased the deficit, then took their own lead, then briefly blew it, then secured it again, then repeated the process one last time for good measure.
Check the lines: 39 points on 16-24 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists for Durant; 29 points on 6-13 three-point shooting, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists for Thompson; and 25 points on 5-10 three-point shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals for Curry.
Still, the game came down to the wire, which certainly wasn’t what Steve Kerr had in mind when the fringe-playoff Heat came to town. Miami threw their best punch, and the Warriors took it on the chin, barely staying upright.
With just under a minute remaining, Dwyane Wade forced a Kevin Durant turnover, and glided to the rim to give Miami a 116-115 lead. On the ensuing Warriors possession, Josh Richardson (who had a career-high 37 points) stole the inbound for an easy dunk.
Then Durant did what Durant does, making his first three of the night to tie the game.
Following a Justise Winslow miss, the Warriors controlled the ball with only a few seconds difference between the game and shot clock.
Durant tried a three again but couldn’t connect this time, but the newest star DeMarcus Cousins was there to save the day. Boogie grabbed the offensive board and was fouled on his way up. Two smooth free throws later and Golden State had the 120-118 lead, with just 5.4 seconds remaining.
The Heat inbounded the ball to Dion Waiters, who has made a big shot or two against the Warriors before.
But tonight wasn’t the night for another.
The Dubs win, and it’s all love.