Postscripts and reaction from the Heat's Game 2 NBA Finals at Oklahoma City:
### Erik Spoelstra: "This is going to be probably like this every single game. This postseason shows this group has resolve, resourcefulness, resiliency. We're all a stubborn group. We got dominated in all of muscle, power areas of Game 1. [Those were] flip-flopped in the second."
### Spoelstra said it was a "mutual" decision for LeBron James (32 points, eight rebounds) to open against Kevin Durant defensively. "As soon I as brought it up, he was absolutely on the same page." Said Battier: "LeBron doesn't get enough credit for the toughness that he shows."
LeBron said he felt "exhausted" afterward. "We want to score enough points to win games, not to answer any questions people ask about us.... This was a huge game. We wanted to split. It was good to see the sense of urgency to start the game. I don't think there's one guy that can guard me and allow him to be on an island and defend me one-on-one."
### The Heat picked a good time for one of its best free throw performances of the postseason (22 for 25), including 12 for 12 from James. Only Terry Porter (15 for 15 in 1990) has made more free throws without a miss in an NBA Finals game.
"When I have double digit free throws, that tells me I was in attack mode," said James, who hit two free throws to seal it with six seconds left. "The big stage like this, every point matters. We needed every point tonight."
### Dwyane Wade played his most efficient game in a while (10 for 20 shooting, 24 points). Asked if he was insulted by questions after his Game 1 performance, "I'm not sensitive. I can take it. Just know I will always keep coming back until I don't play this game no more. Tonight, I was able to attack."
"He made a concerted effort to get layups," NBA TV's Kenny Smith said. "That was the difference in the game."
### Chris Bosh (16 points, 15 rebounds) started for the first time since returning from his abdominal injury and was "sensational," Spoelstra said. "We needed every bit of his big tonight. And that's what he brought." At practice Wednesday, Bosh walked on the floor with the starters and camped himself under the basket, which Spoelstra liked because it suggested to Spoelstra what Bosh's mentality would be in Game 2.
Bosh was very happy about starting because "that's my comfort zone. You know it's time. I just wanted to make sure I played good defense and spaced the floor correctly." Wade said Bosh starting - "was key, having our best players on the floor early."
### Spoelstra on Shane Battier, who's having a terrific series (17 ppg average): "Everyone notices Shane Battier when the ball is going in. We notice it before. He allows us to play our roster the way we want to. We weren't necessarily able to do that last year." Said Battier: "We've got a lot of experience on this team and a lot of toughness. It takes a little more than a loud crowd to rattle this team."
### Durant, on his miss that would have tied the game with seven seconds left: "That's a shot I shoot all the time. I just missed. It's tough to lose that one." ESPN's Steve Javie, the former NBA ref, said James should have been called for a foul on that play. Durant scored 16 in the fourth quarter and is the first player in NBA Finals history to score at least 16 points in the fourth of two consecutive Finals games.
### The Heat had been 0-6 in the playoffs when it was outscored in the third quarter. Make it 1-6 after Thursday. And the Thunder lost for the first time in eight games this season when James Harden scored at least 17 in the first half.
### Thunder coach Scott Brooks told his team afterward: "We're good enough to beat their team on their floor. We can get the next one and we can get the next one."
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Here's our weekly media column:
ABC’s Jon Barry knows many Heat fans (and some radio hosts, for that matter) have tagged him with that moniker – more so than any other announcer who doesn’t go by the nickname “Sir Charles.”
Not guilty, Barry says.
“I am aware of it because Chris Broussard goes on the radio in South Florida and said, ‘They think you hate the Heat,’” Barry – who picked Oklahoma City to win this series in six games - said by phone this week, hours before the start of the Finals. “It’s not that. I think LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world. Pat Riley is great. I think the world of the Arisons. I think Erik Spoelstra is a great coach.
“Because I don’t pick them doesn’t mean I hate them. Every fan of teams – if you don’t pick them, they call you a hater. If they win this series, I’ll still go to sleep at night. I don’t have Oklahoma City or Boston pompoms on. I picked Miami to get to the Finals. I don’t root against them.”
But Barry explains he could not in good conscience pick the Heat to win the title during the first two years of the Big Three era “if they did not improve the team around them, and I don’t believe they have. I don’t feel their team is as a good now as it was last year. I like Mario Chalmers, but they still need pieces to be a championship team. They have never addressed the center position. They have no interior presence, not a lot of depth. Teams that win have great depth.
“There’s no real calling card. What do you know that you’re going to get out of the Heat on a nightly basis? You don’t quite know what you’re going to get. The great teams, you always know what you’re going to get.”
How about LeBron? Can’t you assume greatness out of him?
“He played great in last year’s Finals until the fourth quarter,” Barry responds. “He’s been inconsistent in fourth quarters. I don’t know if Dwyane Wade has lost a step. He hasn’t been the same player over 48 minutes.”
I raised to Barry three remarks he made about the Heat last week – comments that fuel the “Heat-hater” perception. He elaborated on each:
### On his comment that James and Wade don’t make each other better: “When one guy is doing something, does that make the other guy better? Just because LeBron can break his man down, that doesn’t help Wade. They play well together, but I don’t think it enhances their games. I don’t think LeBron is any better today than he was four ago because of Dwyane. At the end of games, both need the ball.”
### On calling the Heat front-runners and accusing them of pointing fingers: “Rajon Rondo pointed out about them whining at officials. I saw a lot of frustration with this team – them looking at each other – more so than last year.”
### On saying (after Game 5 of the Celtics series) that the Heat cannot be trusted: “They’re inconsistent. But when the chips were down, they answered the bell. If they get ahead in this series, do they take their foot off the gas like they’ve been prone to?”
Barry said of his candid, critical style: “I have no personal agendas. I try to stick to my convictions. I like to think I bring good information. I can’t talk about putting on a ring and being in the locker-room of a championship team. But other than that, I’ve got everything covered.”
HARD KNOCKS FALLOUT
The decision to do HBO’s Hard Knocks has been met with mixed reaction among Dolphins players.
Anthony Fasano told Sirius XM: "I wasn't too thrilled. There were a lot of groans when it was announced."
“I’m on the fence,” Reggie Bush said. "Training camp is so tough as it is, you got guys trying to make the team, training and fighting and scratching. At the same time, we’re trying to gel together. It adds another thing. But it will bring a lot of buzz to the city, and that’s something we can all use as a city and team.”
Bush – who has dealt with paparazzi during his past relationship with Kim Kardashian, said he’s OK with cameras “but not following me around 24-7.”
It's widely known that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross loved the publicity that comes with doing the show. But he insisted to season-tickets holders this week that coach Joe Philbin was “insistent” about doing it. “I told Joe, ‘It’s your first year as head coach. You have a lot to absorb and deal with.’ I said we can do it next year or the next year. He said, ‘I want to do it now.’ That really surprised me.
“He said he wants people to know what our brand is all about. He said these are not going to be the Dolphins we have seen the last eight seasons. The fact he has the confidence to do that made me feel we made the right decision. I didn’t think any coach would want to take that on the first year.”
CBS’ Phil Simms told us he is surprised the Dolphins agreed to do it “but it’s a great idea. They need the publicity. They’ve got to get back on the map. Get people excited about the Dolphins again. You forget they’re in the NFL.”
### Musing of the week: From ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy, who noted Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks “was so good when I coached him, I named my cat after him. He died 18 years later.”