Leave it to a team put together by Pat Riley to win an NBA Finals game while shooting less than 38% as a team. The only starter to shoot at least 50% was Shane Battier(2-2, both 3ptrs). Yes, Game 3 was a pretty ugly affair, and these are two of the premier offensive teams in the league. However, the speed and athleticism that is so prevalent on these rosters also means that they can close out, block shots, and really bog down an offense. Miami won the game 91-85 to take a 2-1 series lead, but as LeBron pointed out in post-game interviews, there is still a lot of basketball to be played before he can hoist the NBA Trophy.
Unlike the two games in Oklahoma City, the first quarter was pretty close throughout. Every time Miami would get a little bit of a lead, the Thunder would make a little run and tighten it up. Dwyane Wade came out of the gate with tremendous energy. He was crashing the boards and driving in the lane relentlessly. Wade, who’s shot was definitely off in the first half, was creating plenty of havoc for OKC, along with opportunities for his teammates. He finished the 1st quarter with 4 assists. LeBron also started strong, but he was more focused on scoring, racking up 10 points in the 1st quarter, and finishing with 29 for the game. DWade finished with 25 points. But it was the energy that both of these guys brought that proved to be the catalyst for this victory.
On defense that energy translated into lower production for OKC. Their shooting numbers(43%) as a team were actually higher than the Heat’s, but Miami made runs when needed on offense, and stopped runs while on defense. In the 3rd quarter the Thunder rolled out to a ten point lead. Wade and Co. didn’t panic, they simply went back to the attacking style that proved so effective in the 1st half. They got Kevin Durant in to foul trouble and then held KD and Westbrook to 8 points combined in the 4th quarter. This game was not about stats though, it was really about energy, and in the end Miami had more.
Game 4 is on Tuesday night in Miami, and for the first time the pressure will be on Oklahoma City. They only need to win one game to send it back out to their gym, but if they lose on Tuesday that would put them in a 3-1 hole. The thought of having to beat the Heat three straight times is not an exciting one. I know they beat San Antonio four straight, but the Spurs are old and were clearly overwhelmed by the youth of OKC. Miami shouldn’t be making any parade plans yet either, as they have issues of their own to focus on. The Heat turned the ball over nine times in the 4th quarter. That’s right Mrs. Bueller, NINE TIMES. In each of the last two games, Miami has let the Thunder close to within one basket, only to escape with a victory. If Durant or Westbrook, or even James Harden hits a couple more shots, Bron and the crew could be down 3-0. If that doesn’t make Heat fans nervous, remember this; Miami was up 2-1 against Dallas last year and then lost three straight, along with the NBA Title. Two more games gentleman. Two more games.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).