OKLAHOMA CITY -- Shane Battier started off Game 2 right where he left off in Game 1 of the NBA Finals — hot from downtown
As the game was tipped Thursday, the Thunder was focused on Miami’s Big 3; Would forward LeBron James repeat his 30-point performance from Game 1? Would center Chris Bosh be effective at all in his first start in more than a month? Would Dwyane Wade look like Dwyane Wade?
While the Thunder was busy focusing on Miami’s Big 3, it was missing guys open for three.
Miami shot the lights out from three-point range again in the opening half, which helped the Heat push in front to a 17-point lead and dominate the first half against the Thunder.
The Heat started off by sinking 4 of 6 from deep in the first half and was led by forward Shane Battier, who hit 3 of 4 in the first half and 2 of 3 in the second half to finish with 17 points.
But just like in Game 1, the Heat stopped making its shots from deep, only 2 of 7 in the second half and allowed the Thunder to cut the lead to as little as two points before winning 100-96 to tie the best-of-7 series at one game apiece.
In Game 1, the Heat jumped to a fast start from behind the three-point line by hitting 6 of 10 from deep. But when Miami cooled down in the second half, only hitting 2 of 9 from long range, it allowed Oklahoma City to find its way back from a 13-point deficit and win 105-94.
Shane Battier has done most of the damage for the Heat from three-point range this series; the 33-year old forward out of Duke has gone 9 of 12 from downtown in the first two games of the series.
During the regular season, Miami finished ninth in three-point field-goal percentage at 35 percent, but that number dropped a bit to 33 percent in the playoffs. But in Miami’s playoff wins this season, its has averaged 41 percent from three-point range compared to just 24 percent in its losses.
Battier, who was a acquired in free agency last summer after playing the last season for the Memphis Grizzlies, struggled from long range during the regular season, hitting his second worst percentage of his career at .339 percent.
But the veteran has turned it on in the playoffs; hitting 50 percent combined against the Celtics and the Thunder.
With the driving ability of James and Wade forcing defenders to collapse on the lane, spot-up shooters such as Battier, guard Mario Chalmers and forward Mike Miller are usually standing wide open around the three-point line.