OKLAHOMA CITY -- The night’s scoring kicked off with a 24-foot, Shane Battier three-point strike 53 seconds into the game and like a boulder pushed down a steep hill, the momentum continued to build. Battier was a man on a mission from tip-off.
The 33-year-old, calm, cool and collected vet continued his long distance assault on the Oklahoma City Thunder for much of the opening quarter.
With 9:27 on the clock, Battier took a feed from Mario Chalmers and zipped a 25 footer in from the left wing.
He’d start 3 of 3 from beyond the arc on the night following a missed strike by OKC’s Kevin Durant. Battier answered the Thunder miss-fire with a decisive 25-foot strike, giving Miami the 17-10 lead early in the game.
Battier finished the first half making 5 of 6 from the field while sinking 3 of 4 three-pointers, scoring 13 points and tallying two rebounds.
Coming into Game 1, Battier had averaged just 5.7 points per game, shooting just .312 from the floor and .321 from long range this postseason. Tonight was a different story, as his fast start was an integral part of Miami’s 54-47 lead at halftime.
Then, the hill came to an end and the boulder inevitably slowed. The momentum Battier gained early in the game was disappearing rapidly as the Thunder mounted a comeback in the third.
Heading into the final 12 minutes of regulation, Battier had accumulated 17 points, continuing to move past his previous high this postseason of 13, on May 22, vs. Indiana.
But at the time, none of that mattered. Russell Westbrook had given OKC its first lead of the game to close out the third quarter, with a layup to tie and the ensuing free throw to complete a three-point play.
It was Westbrook who would later sink a 17-foot jumper over the outstretched arms of Battier to increase the Thunder lead to eight with 2:54 left in the game.
Despite its fast start and the offensive production from Battier, who finished the game with 17 points and four rebounds, the Heat fell to the Thunder 105-94. Game Two will be played in Oklahoma City on Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern.