Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NBA Finals Chronicles, Wednesday June 13

Wow, that was a great game last night from the Thunder. The game started off with the momentum in the favor of Miami, with a couple of 3s by Shane Battier. The Heat dominated the first quarter and were up by 7 going into halftime. LeBron James was hitting shots and the team, other than Dwyane Wade (more on that later), looked to be clicking. But, just when you count out OKC, the thunder starts rolling. They were able to erase a 13 point deficit and end the 3rd quarter with a 1 point lead, which they never gave up. The Thunder have now made a comeback victory from at least 13 points down in every series in this postseason. The reason why the Thunder won is because they are younger and deeper than the Miami Heat. The Heat only used 8 players, and 2 of those bench players only played a combined 12 minutes. The Thunder had an 8-man rotation outside of Cook's 3 minutes. The Heat just looked tired and worn out by the end of the game. LeBron had a great game, but he put the team on his back  for so long that he couldn't even help at a certain point. With the Thunder putting Thabo Sefolosha on him in the 4th quarter, he just did not have the strength to get by him with consistency. That's not a knock on James, it's a result of the fact that he does not get much offensive help and he has to expend so much energy defensively. Outside of the fact that the Heat role players did not help him at all in the second half, the other two members of the Big 3 did not play up to their standards. The Heat got a combined 29 points from Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Bosh did not even attempt a single layup during the game, and he spent his time on the floor camping out of the perimeter, which is okay, but he really needs to get down low more. The Heat only had 40 points in the paint while the Thunder had 56, a big difference. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were able to attack the basket effectively, more effectively than the Heat were able to. Nick Collison gave OKC a big boost off the bench with 8 points, 10 rebounds, and infinite energy. He took a lot of Perkins's minutes, which is a trend that I expect to continue during this series. A lot has been made about the Miami Heat's ability to score in transition, but were outscored 24-4 in the transition game. The Thunder's ability to attack the basket and to run the floor effectively spells great doom for the Miami Heat in this series.

Now it's time for the attack on Dwyane Wade. He has not played well at all since the end of the Indiana series. In the first halves of games against Boston, he was consistently ineffective. He eventually ended up with decent numbers, but by hitting very difficult shots in the second half. The Heat need him to start off stronger. By starting off the games slowly, this causes LeBron James to need to shoulder the bulk of the load for the team and get tired by the end of the game. He didn't even play well in the second half yesterday. He ended the game with 19 points on 7 of 19 shooting, which is not at all what the Heat need from him. He wasn't able to create shots for himself, and even the shots that he did hit were tough contested and fading shots.

This is the worst part of the game for the Heat. The Beard, aka James Harden. He was non-existent last night, meaning that the Thunder beat the Heat by 11 points, without a good game from Harden. He only played 22 minutes and scored just 5 points. A lot more will be expected from him for the rest of the series, and he most likely will deliver. This is a bad sign for Miami, because a better James Harden means more points on the board for OKC, and that doesn't help the Heat's cause at all.

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