With Miami Taking another 2-1 Lead in the NBA Finals can Oklahoma City fight back and square the ledger? Game 4 - Oklahoma City Thunder @ Miami Heat. 11am AEST 20th of June, 2012.
Do or Die for the Thunder?All it takes is a couple of key events in a game and the best laid plans can come unstuck. One key event that didn't go right for the Thunder was Kevin Durant picking up a 4th foul 6 minutes into the 3rd quarter. What happened in the next 6 minutes was a big factor in what decided the game as Miami went on to take a lead heading into the 4th. Game 4 represents an opportunity for the Thunder to finally get it right after losing the last two (winnable) games. When the game goes for 48 minutes it requires the team to be focused for the whole 48 minutes and I don't think the Thunder have quite mastered that in these Finals. Execution will be key for the Thunder otherwise they will be facing down the barrel of a 3-1 deficit with another game in South Beach. Things to Do Better - Keep Kevin Durant out of foul trouble, stop fouling 3 point shooters! Shoot better than 80% from the charity stripe, the star players need to demand more playing time and keep Miami out of the post. Things to Keep Doing - Take the open shot, make LeBron take jumpers and keep the energy levels up.
Holding the Fort in MiamiDeja vu for Miami with a 2-1 lead but this is completely different to this time last year. There is no ugly cockiness to Wade or LeBron, they're not mocking their opponent at press conferences - although Durant and Westbrook's fashion choices give them plenty of ammo - and LeBron seems to have shaken what the media and fans deemed a choking problem. Game 3 represented a nightmare for Miami in terms of shooting (37.8% FG%) yet they managed to pull it all together down the stretch and hold on for a crucial victory. Despite my prediction that Shane Battier would eventually stop his epic shooting he went 2-2 from the field and hit all 3 FTs after being fouled beyond the arc. One must ask the question, why is the ball not in his hands on every possession? Miami have not been the better team in this series - although they arguably have two of the best players - and their overall structure lacks the punch of the Thunder. If the Thunder pull it all together for 48 minutes then the Heat will need to match them and that means a more rounded effort from Mario Chalmers (31.8% FG% and only 10 assists) and the bench players (Miller, Jones & Haslem). Things to Do Better - Take the open shot instead of making the extra pass, take care of the ball better and crowd Durant's space. Things to Keep Doing - Attack the paint, give it to Battier beyond the arc and keep Their composure down the stretch. My Prediction - Oklahoma City Thunder by 5
Can the Thunder Avoid going down 3-1 and who has been the finals MVP So Far? Post your thoughts in the comments section.