Game 5 of the NBA Finals is do or die for Oklahoma City Thunder. A win for the home town Miami Heat will see the NBA Championship find a new home in South Beach. Join us from 11am AEST to see if Kevin Durant and the Thunder can rain on the parade and force the series back to Oklahoma.
Three games, sixteen points. That’s been the difference between these two powerhouse squads over the past seven days.
A blown defensive play or a made three pointer could have us looking at a completely different outcome. It takes more than luck to win an NBA Championship, but make no mistake, luck plays a part.
If somebody told you that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would combine for 59.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game on 51% shooting in the series to date, how many of you would have honestly forecasted a 3-1 series lead to Miami?
Unfortunately for the Thunder’s All Star pairing that’s the hole they face going into Game 5.
Although Durant and Westbrook have been great all series, a lack of support from their teammates has proven to be their consistent downfall.
James Harden in particular has only broken the double digit scoring barrier once in this series, with his shooting percentage dipping to 35%, down from 49% in the regular season. Harden needs to recapture his pre-series form and become the support player the Thunder have been missing for them to have any shot at extending the series.
Heading into Game 4 everything pointed towards the Thunder needing to rectify their slow starts, and they did so with a 33-16 opening blitz of the Heat. What we didn’t forecast was Heat rookie Norris Cole sparking Miami’s second quarter comeback with a pair of three’s, and Mario Chalmers outscoring his output of the previous three games combined to drop 25 points.
With the Thunder misfiring on 3-for-16 three point shooting, Oklahoma couldn’t land the break they needed. OKC just haven’t been able to put it all together and convert valuable opportunities when they needed to. When a key moment arises for the Heat, they seem to have all the answers, they cash in. That’s been the difference in the series thus far.
For the Miami Heat the series to date couldn’t have played out any better. LeBron has exercised his Finals demons of a year ago, Wade has been contributing for four quarters, Bosh is healthy and the supporting cast has consistently delivered.
This team has even managed to digest a 71 point Game 4 scoring buffet from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, numbers which should result in a Thunder victory every time.
Outside of getting ahead of themselves, is there really any reason why the Heat wouldn’t wrap things up on their home court today?
When you factor in what this team went through in last years finals, it’s hard to imagine a similar outcome occuring again.
For Oklahoma to win the Championship from here they’d be defying history, as no team has ever forced a Game 7, let alone gone on to win the Larry O’Brien trophy with a 3-1 deficit.
In their favor is the fact that the Thunder have gone an NBA-high 276 consecutive games (regular season and playoffs) without losing four games in a row.
Regardless of who wins or loses tomorrow, records will fall.
As for my prediction?
The Thunder will be going home to Oklahoma, only they’ll be fishing.
Miami by double digits, as the King get’s his ring.