Thursday, June 21, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
The bells could be set to toll
The NBA Finals went all knotted on Thursday night. In both games the Heat came out showing no mercy in the first quarters. Miami ran up double-digit leads, using an offensive attack which left OKC completely stymied. The Heat poured it on until the last minute of the third quarter in game one and Oklahoma took a one-point lead. Inexplicably, in the fourth quarter, the Heat seemingly backed off. The Thunder needed no gold-engraved invitation. They quickly swung the pendulum and waltzed away with a hefty margin victory. The Heat didn’t have a break down, it was more of a “wilting away.”
Still on the road and in hostile and thundering territory in game two, Miami left no doubt about dedication to the mission. They kept the Thunder behind the eight ball for the entire game, the first time during the playoffs that the Thunder never held the lead. Even when OKC pulled to within two in the waning moments, the King’s resolve easily shone through. When you are facing a virtually unstoppable foe such as Kevin Durant, you have to remain concrete. Like a year ago, the Heat had put themselves in a position to challenge for the top prize and completely fizzled into ignominy when the series was over. Bitter pills to swallow all around.
But Miami has added a few things since then, namely Shane Battier and Mike Miller. These all but forgotten additions have been the perfect tonic to cure the Heat’s slumping ills in the playoffs. Battier’s accuracy from beyond the arc has been impeccable.
Critics argue, saying that King James has finally reached his zenith and has just two more games to complete the mission. Being suspicious by nature with residual issues from a former trade, I don’t believe Durant and the rest of the Thunder will be more than a mild windstorm.
Game three saw OKC contesting the Heat from start to finish with two important tactical errors. They gave up two three-point fouls which reduced their sizeable lead by six crucial points late. And once again, like they are so apt to do, Miami seized the opening. James and Wade are most effective when feeding off of each other with a slice of Chris Bosh thrown in. Conversely, Durant is most effective when feeding off of anybody.
The bell could be set to toll for the Thunder on Tuesday and Thursday (of this week), but considering the talents of Westbrook, Durant and the indomitable Derek Fisher, then maybe not.
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