In a Game 2 that featured a phenomenal (though probably next-to-unbearable for most Heat fans; Geekosystem editor/Heat fan James Plafke was convinced the Heat would lose right up to the buzzer, Gchatted me things like “we lose” and “we just lost” multiple times, felt like the Heat lost after they’d just won and still feels that way this morning) fourth quarter, the Heat managed to (barely) hold off the Thunder and win, 100-96. It sets up one hell of an interesting set of games in Miami beginning Sunday, and it looks more and more like we might have a classic Finals on our hands.
But – of course – we didn’t arrive at this point without any controversy. Last night, that controversy mainly centered around a play in the final minute with the Heat clinging to a two-point lead, and needing to get a stop. They got that stop, and LeBron iced it at the line with two free throws. That stop, though, included some contact between LeBron and Kevin Durant – contact that could have been called a foul, but wasn’t. See the play for yourself from a couple different angles here:
On the one hand: yes, could have been called a foul. Arguably – and you would be far from alone in making this argument – it should have been called a foul. But also – so may talk about how the refs should just swallow their whistles and let ’em play late in close games. What was this, if not that exact scenario? A foul is going to have to be more obvious than usual to be called at that stage of the game. And for what it’s worth, guess who didn’t want to blame the loss on the call (though he sure wanted it at the time)? Kevin Durant:
So the Heat won, the series is tied, and that’s that. And by the way, even factoring in that no-call (and him being caught off guard by the inbounds pass), LeBron deserves credit for putting up a 31/8.5/4.5 stat line over two games in the Finals in the league’s toughest road environment, leading the Heat to a crucial split. In these Finals, at least so far – and admittedly, unlike his first two – he’s coming up pretty damn big. Why do we get the feeling it still won’t be enough for some people?
Durant video by CJ Fogler.