No you haven’t come to the wrong place. No your eyes aren’t deceiving you. You’re on the Chop Talk blog and you’re reading about basketball. Kind of the best of both worlds right? You all know that I’m a huge baseball fan through and through. And while baseball will always be my first love, my passion for basketball can’t be ignored.
With that being said I’ve watched the Finals this year with a lot of intensity. We have the Miami Heat with their “big 3” and a very talented OKC team that has a “big 3” of their own. Both teams are strong defensively, both teams rebound the ball with intensity and both teams possess serious star power.
However we need to step outside the general realm of that this series puts us in. This article is not about a battle between Durant and James. This isn’t loaded up with 4th quarter stats or shooting percentages. My blog has always been about looking at sports at a slightly deeper level. Getting into the mental part of things and seeing if we’re really looking at things correctly.
Game 4 is tonight in Miami. All the pressure appears to be on the shoulders of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Seems natural right? They’re down 2-1 to a very strong Heat team and no one in any series wants to go down 3-1. So this is a must win for the Thunder right? Sort of. However I’m looking at it as a major opportunity for the Heat to put OKC away early on in the series the same way they failed to do against Boston. Up 2-0, they let Boston climb right back into that series and allowed the Celtics to put them in a 3-2 hole going back to Boston.
The Heat can’t end up down 3-2 to the Thunder because of the playoff format for the Finals. Both games 6 and 7 will be in OKC and the Heat can’t in anyway count on winning both of those games.
Oklahoma City only needs to win 1 of these next 2 to prolong the series for another trip back home where they only have 1 home playoff lose this season. Can they win back to back games at home? Absolutely. So whether OKC goes back home up 3-2 or down 2-3 you can bet your last dollar that the crowd will be electric. And that the Thunder will play their best basketball as they inch closer to a title.
Now speaking of Game 4’s, I can’t not think about last years Finals. Where the Dallas Mavericks were down 2-1 to the Miami Heat. A much less talented Dallas team in comparison to this years OKC team. They were also a lot older very similar to the Boston Celtics. Yes that game was in Dallas but the Mavericks didn’t have the luxury of going back home for playing games 6 and 7. They knew they would have to close that series out on the road, which they did.
If the Thunder are able to win tonight then all the pressure shifts sides immediately. Miami can’t lose game 5 and go down 3-2 heading back to OKC. That game almost become a must win for the Heat.
This series has been extremely even. I don’t believe that either team has taken advantage of it yet.
In the 2012 NBA Finals these teams have played 12 quarters of basketball.
The Heat have won 5
The Thunder have won 5
And there have been 2 ties
One thing that hasn’t been even is the starts to these games. The Heat have won EVERY 1st quarter and have lead every single game at the Half.
If you’re Oklahoma City you MUST start quicker. You create a completely different mindset for your team if you can get off to a fast start and eventually go into half time with the lead, something OKC has yet to do in this series.
If the Thunder can win the 1st quarter and lead at the half then they will have a great chance of winning this basketball game and evening up this series at 2 a piece.
By: Bob McVinua