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Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma Thunder game recap, Feb. 1, 2019

There was no secret which team had the two best playeres on the court Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Until the NBA made Dwyane Wade a “special” All-Star selection earlier in the day, the Oklahoma City Thunder was slated to have the only two All-Stars on the floor in Miami with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. To knock off the Thunder, the Miami Heat would need its bench to make up the difference.

Dennis Schroeder wouldn’t allow it. A monster second quarter for Oklahoma City’s backup point guard rendered the second half essentially meaningless and sent most of the 19,600 at AAA home disappointed following a 118-102 rout of the Heat.

Miami (24-26) led only briefly in the opening quarter before the sheer difference in talent let the Thunder (33-18) overpower the Heat. By the end of the first quarter, George had 16 points and Westbrook was only five points, five rebounds and two assists away from a triple-double. By halftime, George’s total was up to 26 and the Thunder could give Westbrook plenty of rest — Schroeder erupted for 24 points in the second quarter to bury Miami by halftime.

George ultimately led all scorers with 43 points and 10 three-pointers, and Schroeder finished with 28. Westbrook hit the triple-double threshhold by the midway point of the third quarter and the star point guard finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists.

The Thunder’s offense was nearly flawless in the opening 24 minutes: 58.3 percent from the field and 9 of 13 from three-point range. The Heat shot 47.7 percent from the floor, 31.2 percent from three-point range and a woeful 54.5 percent from the free-throw line. Oklahoma City went into halftime leading 72-53. While the Thunder’s field-goal percentage eventually dipped below 50 percent, Oklahoma City finished 16 of 30 from beyond the arc.

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Just two nights after an “embarrassing” loss to the Chicago Bulls — coach Erik Spoelstra’s words — the Heat never even challenged a far suprior Thunder team. George and Westbrook carried Oklahoma City through the opening 12 minutes. George made 6 of his first 8 shot attempts and went 3 of 3 from beyond the arc to uncork his first 16 points. Westbrook carved up Miami’s perimeter defenders, crashing to the rim at will and picking out open shooters to hand out eight assists in the first nine minutes. The Heat, which led 6-4 early, surrendered a 12-2 run to the Thunder and never regained the lead.

Schroeder made sure of it. After playing five scoreless minutes in the first quarter, the point guard ran the offense for the second and unloaded. Schroeder went 9 of 9 in the period — including 4 of 4 from three-point range — to almost singlehandedly outscore Miami in the quarter.

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