By Ben Golliver
The tension picked up during the fourth quarter of Heat/Thunder on Christmas Day when Russell Westbrook took exception to a foul in transition by Shane Battier.
With the Heat leading 77-72 with roughly 11 minutes remaining in regulation, Westbrook broke out in transition after stealing the ball from Dwyane Wade, and both Wade and Battier defended his driving transition attempt in the air. Battier and Wade carried into the baseline stands and Westbrook briefly gave chase but thought better of it, as players from both teams and referees intervened to prevent any fisticuffs.
While Battier was originally whistled for a flagrant foul, a video review reversed that decision, ruling that his foul was merely regular. Both Wade and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka were hit with technical fouls for their role in the brief baseline skirmish.
The Heat held off the Thunder to win 103-97 at American Airlines Arena on Tuesday. Westbrook endured a frustrating night, finishing with 21 points on five-for-19 shooting. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 33 points and seven rebounds. LeBron James powered the Heat to the win with 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Dwyane Wade added 21 points and five rebounds.