After getting off to an 18-2 lead in the first quarter, we thought the Miami Heat were ready to slow down Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder last night in Miami. Boy were we wrong.Durant, Lebron James, Thunder, Heat, NBA

Kevin Durant finished with 33 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in another great performance as the Thunder picked up a 112-95 statement win in Miami.

The Heat aren’t used to losing at home, and they sure aren’t used to losing by 15+ points. This might be the wake up call game that the Heat needed. LeBron James and the Heat know that this is an unacceptable loss and this might be the motivation they need to get things turned back up to a championship level of play.

On the other side, how about the Thunder? Durant’s 33 point performance makes 12 straight games with 30+ points. This moves him into 3rd place with Tracy McGrady (14) and Kobe Bryant (16) not too far ahead. The Thunder also improved to an NBA best 37-10 record.

In the last 6 minutes of the 3rd quarter and the first 6 minutes of the 4th, the moment we were waiting for finally came. Durant & James were guarding each other and going shot for shot. James finished one point above Durant with 34 and tried his hardest to slow Durant down. But Durant was hitting LeBron with pull up threes, crossovers, and pull up jumpers that James simply couldn’t contain.

This incredible scoring run by Durant only leaves me with one question: can anyone stop Durant? We are all leaning towards no. Also, just a reminder before we jump to any, “Durant is better than LeBron!!” conclusions: James  is up 13-4 in the head-to-head match ups between the two stars, and a friendly reminder that James is a four-time NBA regular season MVP, back-to-back NBA Champion and back-to-back Finals MVP.

Durant is certainly in the MVP race lead and dominating everyone in his path, but he still has a long ways to go and can solidify his legendary season by collecting some hardware in June. He took a step in the right direction last night by getting the best of James with the big win and performance in South Beach.

The Heat and Thunder will see each other again February 20th in Oklahoma City.

Watch the highlights of the duel between Durant and James.

-Patrick Hazel (@pattywack25)