If last night's regular-season meeting is any indicator, then an NBA Finals matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat would figure to include nearly as many bruises as dunks.The second meeting between the NBA powerhouses over a two-week span was a physical battle with several flagrant and technical fouls called.
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins got it started with a hard foul on Heat guard Dwyane Wade in the paint. Wade used a pump fake to get Perk off his feet, but Perkins appeared to follow through with his arm and nailed Wade in the head as they collided.
Wade, who took exception to a Perkins dunk in the teams' previous game at OKC back in March, got up and looked as if he was about to approach him, but ended up walking away.
The referees met and handed Perkins a technical foul along with the personal foul, much to the chagrin of Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks.
Two weeks ago after Perkins appeared to kick Wade in the face after a big dunk, Wade stared him down as the two walked down to the other side of the court.
Just 12 seconds after Wade shot the free throws, he stole the ball from Russell Westbrook and dished it to LeBron James who was already surging ahead of the pack. But Westbrook caught up with James and just as he went up for the dunk, the Thunder All-Star grabbed LeBron's left shoulder and sent him down on the hardwood.
James immediately got up and walked away from Westbrook as the home crowd, including team President Pat Riley, roared in disgust. Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo flipped out on the sideline. The refs ruled it a flagrant foul on Westbrook.
"Playoff basketball," was how James described the action at halftime. If that's any indication, we might be in for a classic if these two teams can emerge from their respective conferences.
Miami went on to avenge the loss in Oklahoma City and win 98-93.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more