Friday, June 15, 2012

Heat, Thunder Tied at 1-1

We're two games into the NBA Finals, and things have gone exactly as I was suspecting they would. I picked the Thunder in 7, and they've shown up in both games, narrowly missing a comeback win in game two that would have put them up 2-0.

The Two Stars
However, as I also suspected, the Heat look pretty darn determined as well, and they certainly aren't going to be an easy task for OKC. If the Heat do lose this series, it definitely won't be because of LeBron James. 'The King' has been on point in the first two games of this series, but hadn't gotten very little help from the other two Miami superstars, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh up until last night. Wade shot a lot better in Thursday's game, going 10-20 from the field and finishing with 24 points after shooting just 33% from the field in game one. Also, Bosh returned to the starting lineup for the first time since May 13th, taking the place of Udonis Haslem, and although he didn't have the biggest offensive impact, he played an all-around solid game and helped the Heat compete with OKC's big men. Bosh scored 16 points and reeled in 15 boards for the Heat Thursday, after he had just 10 and 5 in game 1. LeBron pitched in 32 points, 8 boards and 5 assists to lead Miami, and even with all three guys playing well, they hardly held off the rampant Thunder. The biggest surprise for the Heat Thursday though, came from the hands of Shane Battier as the defensive-minded forward pitched in 17 points, going 5-7 from beyond the arc.

In order for Miami to keep the pressure on the Thunder, that's the formula they're going to have to use to success in this series as they'll need contributions from more than just LeBron and Wade if they want to win this thing. Still, the Thunder almost beat Miami Thursday despite getting a rough shooting night from Russell Westbrook. I talked a lot about Westbrook in our Finals Preview at The Bay Area Sports Journal, and the
Westbrook the Key for OKC
most important key in order for the Thunder to take this series is they need to have Westbrook contributing positively on offense. I know he still scored 27 points, but it shouldn't take him 26 field goal and 7 free throw attempts in order to reach that mark. He's still a young player and is learning, but one thing he's got to do more often, and something he displayed well during the San Antonio series is dishing the ball off more when he doesn't have his shot. The Thunder have a variety of shooters and scorers on their team, they don't always need Westbrook to score 25+ points. He needs to start facilitating and looking for the open man more often on this big stage. Miami is smart enough to know who has the hot hand, and if Westbrook is struggling and still shooting, Miami will take advantage of that. I still think this is OKC's series to lose, but they have to show more smarts and experience than they did in game 2.

1 comment:

NBAFANntheUK said...

This is what the NBA Finals should look like. These are the 2 best teams in the league by far, and this is going to be a fun ride to see who takes this. Whoever does will have to earn it.

I'm kind of in agreement, I think OKC Thunder are the favorites, but Miami looks pretty pissed off from last years loss. I really don't care about either of the teams but this is a awesome series already.