Desperate Heat turn it up

Heat forward Chris Bosh knocks the ball away from Thunder forward Serge Ibaka during Game 2 of the...

Heat forward Chris Bosh knocks the ball away from Thunder forward Serge Ibaka during Game 2 of the NBA final at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., June 14, 2012. (JEFF ROBERSON/Reuters/Pool)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:28 AM ET

Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy were stuck on a word much of the first half of Game 2.

That word was desperation and the ESPN commentators were right to be stuck on it because it summed up the entire night for the Miami Heat

Contrary to those premature declarations of this NBA final being over, this series has plenty of life left in it yet and it does because the Heat were willing and able to play desperate basketball.

The Heat are a dangerous team when they're in normal mode. When they are in desperation mode as they were after a Game 1 loss, they're a handful for a team even as talented as OKC.

The Oklahoma City Thunder didn't just get out to a slow start in Game 2. They got punched in the mouth. Then when they didn't punch back right away, they got punched again.

Ironically it wasn't until Kevin Durant, the Thunder's go-to scorer and Russell Westbrook, their other go-to scorer had to sit down with two early fouls each that the Thunder started to cut into the deficit.

Not so ironically, it was the same duo that would bring the Thunder back getting them all the way back to within two, but that was as close as they would get as Miami held on for a 100-96 win and a split of the series.

The Heat, desperate as they might be, are still a team capable of having their way with anyone and even after the Thunder seemed to be on the way to righting the ship, Miami found the strength to hold them off.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra set the desperate tone for the night when he put Chris Bosh back in the starting lineup alongside Shane Battier in the frontcourt.

While it pretty much decimated the Miami bench in terms of scoring, it was deemed more important to get off to a good start and just as importantly get Dwyane Wade off to a strong start.

OKC won the third quarter by a point, the fourth by seven points and tied the second quarter but it was a 12-point first quarter edge by the Heat that evened the series.

Not only was Wade back to his scoring ways, finishing the night with 24, second only to James' 32 for the Heat, but so too was Bosh back to being effective with 16 points and 15 boards in his first start since he went out with injury in Round 2.

And with the Big Three back to being the Big Three and Shane Battier having another banner night from beyond the arc hitting five of seven from distance, the Heat found a formula strong enough to ruin the Thunder's unblemished mark on its home court for the first time in the playoffs.

MR. UNPOPULAR

What is it about Mario Chalmers that brings out the big brother in just about every other member of the Miami Heat.

And we're not talking about the protective big brother either. In Game 1, it was LeBron James publicly scolding the Kansas product. In Game 2, Bosh, of all people, came out of his shell long enough to give Chalmers an earful.

You don't see a lot of any of the Big 3 getting on one another in a similar way, but when the point guard screws up, he hears about it from all of them.

BATTIER LOCKED IN

Battier began the series looking like he was one of the premiere three-point shooters in the league. He continued to look like that through Game 2, hitting five for seven from range.

But as impressive as Battier's long-range shooting has been, he's also out there sending messages to the Thunder and he doesn't seem to care who he delivers them to.

Westbrook learned early on he had better keep his head up no matter what the situation as he was up pressuring the Miami inbound after an OKC basket. Miami got it in successfully and Westbrook put his head down and started to go up court only to be laid out by a Battier pick at midcourt. It was an unnecessary pick as Breen pointed out, but perhaps Mr. Breen was underestimating the impact a play like that can have on a volatile personality like Westbrook.

MORE DORIS

Doris Burke is the epitome of the reporter who uses her words efficiently. Recounting a shootaround conversation with LeBron James from earlier in the day, Burke relayed James message to his struggling teammate Wade in short order "I told D-Wade I need him to be D-Wade," James told Burke. The whole segment was probably less than 30 seconds in length but that nine-word quote summed up what had to happen for Miami to get back to dominating an opponent.

QUICK HITS

I credit the time Kendrick Perkins spent in Boston for that great Kevin Garnett-like game face he has. No one looks more serious ... Magic Johnson was way too amped up at halftime. Magic overstated things by a margin of about 100 when he suggested Westbrook's first half was the worst first half by a point guard in the history of the game. Sure Westbrook got into some early foul trouble and he wasn't close to what he was in Game 1, but worst ever? Dial down a bit there Magic. ... Nice to see Spoelstra not afraid to make some pretty drastic reversals from Game 1. A stubborn head coach who refuses to adjust after a bad loss can quickly make a best-of-seven a four-game sweep. Spoelstra put Bosh back in the starting five and even started taking advantage of Norris Cole's speed off the bench which went unutilized in Game 1.


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