(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Put up beast numbers, guarded Durant well in the 4th and is as professional as ever at the podium
LeBron had 29 and 14 and is just too much for OKC. They’re too young. Sheed reference later in that vital regard. I mention a lot of stuff to be looked at later in the series. TSF is ahead of the game. OKC last lead 77-76. Durant 5 fouls…again. Westbrook had just 19. Kevin Durant is doing everything he can and had 25, but LeBron is the Heat Mizer…he’s too much. Wade had 25, 7 and 7. Miami hit free throws again. Westbrook and Durant were 4-6 from the line. So was Kendrick Perkins. Wait. What? 91-85 Miami win. Lead series 2-1. Remember what Sheed used to say?
This from April 30th of 2008 after a win vs. Sixers that pretty much wrapped up the first round series: “We have business to handle, but we still do our little side jokes out there or whatever. We’ve been in situations like this before so it’s not a lot of pressure and our booty holes aren’t tight.”
Miami has been here before, OKC has not. IMO, it’s as simple as that. Still no adjustment on Shane Battier…who hit 2-2 from behind the arc. James Harden has been up and down. 5 points in Game 1, 21 in Game 2 and just 9 in a pivotal Game 3. The winner of Game 3 wins the chip about 85% of the time.
This is about everyone in the Miami organization that was here last year. They know what to expect. Losing in front of the world is just not cool. Stings a little bit more. Look at the players’ expressions in post game pressers. They dread answering questions. This is press from around the world…some barely speaking English. Even the victors are taken aback by the questions (but Miami looks much more comfortable…even in the loss). Yes, I’m talking about the press because covering a Finals is very unique. Everything is turned up a notch and yes, the Thunder are a talented team but they simply haven’t been here before. That is so major. At least on twitter and because of Heat disdain, I noticed seasoned writers focus on LeBron’s headband:
What that proves to me is this LeBron hate is so deep, it’s the only way to brace themselves from what appears to be inevitable. I wonder what the narrative will be if in fact the Heat do win the series regarding LBJ. Will it be this?
That is the truth that will be. There are still idiots defending Dan Gilbert as if he personally lines their pockets. Y’all gotta get over that man. It’s psychotic. Sorry. I understand the sting inside of Cleveland but anywhere else? Nah (Yeah I’m talking to you too Detroit and Boston).
Ok, back to the game. OKC missed a lot of free throws. 15-24 is not gonna get it. Before the series, Temple 3 shot me a question to ask Greg Anthony during the NBA TV Conference call. The question was regarding free throws. His response: “In a playoff series, you’re weaknesses will have an impact. If you’re not a good free throw shooting team, there’s probably a game you’re gonna lose. If you’re not a good rebounding team, there’s probably a game in the series you’re going to lose because of that. To me, I look at it the opposite way. Will they do enough of the other things that they do well to win four games.”
Anthony went on to say to me that the series is a pick ‘em because the teams would be feeling each other out: “It’s like watching what was supposed to be a fight between Pacquiao and Bradley. A lot of times this is like a boxing match. When you play a team 7 times, you try to get a feel of what you can do and where you can hurt them as the series progresses. Then the other question is can the other team make adjustments and shore up those areas. Free throw shooting is going to be an issue for them (Miami), but I don’t know if it’s going to be the determining factor whether or not they win or lose the series.”
Yes Miami was 5-30 outside the paint and had 9 turnovers in the 4th quarter but again, experience gives them that much of an edge to just get it done.
He was asked about the 2-3-2 format: “Basketball is a game of rhythm. The visiting team can get a better rhythm when they play you three straight times in your arena. That’s why it’s so important that you get one of those first two as a road team. You saw it last year with Dallas. Because remember, Miami came back and won in Dallas but Dallas had the ability to win a second time in Miami. So that’s how you’re mentally approaching this. You literally want to treat with a Game 7 mindset. You gotta figure out a way to get one. Winning the last two on the road is very difficult to do. ”
Sefalosha had a huge steal that put OKC in position to win the game, but Westbrook couldn’t connect on a wide open three to tie. Frustrating back breakers of emptiness. That empty feeling ain’t no joke. What about Westbrook on the bench for too long? That’s on Scott Brooks. I’ll say this…unless it is somehow by design…there should be absolutely no game where Russell Westbrook shoots more than Kevin Durant. He was 8-18. Durant was 11-19. Unacceptable. There was a play in the fourth where Westbrook was bottled up, inside the three point line, passed off and expected to get it back for a spot up three. Kevin Durant saw him, but really didn’t:
KD shouldn’t have passed him the ball. This is his team. He needs to take over. That will be difficult because LeBron, again, has a physical edge. There are far too many Westbrook apologists. Will Westbrook become a serious problem as the series moves on? Did anyone shoot more than Mike or Larry or Kareem or Wilt? Nah. Why is Russell Westbrook doing it?
Durant looked different at the podium:
How will he respond in Game 4? A game OKC must win.
I picked Miami to win 106-93. Obviously wrong with the score but I picked that because pressure busts pipes. The Heat won’t tell you they are, but they are beginning to smell it. OKC is still figuring out how to decipher the Wade/LBJ puzzle. Bosh had 10 and 11 boards. His contribution cannot be disputed. Speaking of Bosh…what if he was European?
I picked the Heat in six because of experience. I’m gonna write it until this is all over. IMO, it’s the determining factor. Paint me as a Heat apologist if you want to, but every other superstar had to get over a Finals hump vs. a more established and experienced player to eventually assume the throne. Those who will attempt to diminish LeBron’s playoff numbers because of whatever? Remember, numbers never lie. This series is far from over (I actually think it is). Game 4 Tuesday.
|C. Aldrich||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|L. Hayward||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|R. Ivey||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|N. Mohammed||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|R. Jackson||DNP — INACTIVE|
|E. Maynor||DNP — INACTIVE|
|J. Anthony||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|T. Harris||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|J. Howard||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|R. Turiaf||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|E. Curry||DNP — INACTIVE|
|D. Pittman||DNP — INACTIVE|
Officials: Joe Crawford, James Capers, Ken Mauer
Time of Game: 2:41