We're even at one game apiece as the series heads to South Beach.
Our sneaking suspicion about the lines ended up being right,
even though we fell for the trap and went with the Thunder in Game 2. You live
and you learn.
We had wondered why the NBA odds makers hadn't shifted their stance
after a solid performance by OKC in Game 1 and found out quickly as the Heat
darted out to a 18-2 lead in the first quarter.
From there Miami was able to withstand some typical Thunder
runs, holding on for the 100-96 victory and giving OKC their first loss at home
in the playoffs.
Game 3's NBA odds have been released and the opening spread
had the Heat favored by 4.5. points. That number's being bet down, with 4 and
even 3.5 now available at various books.
The total is also seeing similar movement, opening at 195.5
but being hit down to 194 at time of writing. The UNDER is 3-1-1 in the last
five head-to-head matchups between the finalists.
Durant 1 LeBron 1
We learned a lot about Miami's resilience as a basketball
team in Game 2.
With Chris Bosh back in the starting lineup, the Heat
dominated in the paint, outscoring the Thunder 48-32. They out-rebounded OKC as
well, with Bosh pulling down 15 and LeBron and Wade grabbing 14 between the two of them.
At game's end, LeBron had 32 points on 10-of-22 shooting and
also had five assists, while Wade showed up with a 24-6-5 line when the Heat
needed it most. Bosh's 16 points were crucial too.
In our Game 2 preview, we wondered if Shane Battier would
ever score 17 points again. You better believe I was shaking my head (and
simultaneously smirking) as Battier nailed five threes en-route to.......you
guessed it, 17 points. This, my friends, is why basketball is so great.
Battier's offensive “explosion” and incredible defense and
hustle plays have been major factors in this series. No doubt about it.
Battier's showing us why Pat Riley went after him during the offseason.
The Thunder, meanwhile, got a combined 80 points out of a
possible 96 from their big three but couldn't recover from a massive deficit
early on, despite constant support from the OKC crowd.
A lot of people felt Kevin Durant was fouled there at the
end of the game, but come on – there's no way the Thunder deserved to win that
game. The Heat did everything they needed to do and it would've been a crime if
they had lost.
Instead, they have the leg up in this series.
Game 3 promises to be another thriller. The Heat answered
the challenge and criticism by turning everything they did wrong in Game 1 in
to positives in Game 2. They weren't dominated in fast break points, they won
the battle inside, and Wade answered the calls with 24 points in a much more
efficient overall performance. Oh, and Battier had 17 points again. 17!
Let superstars do superstar things
Am I crazy for thinking the Thunder come out with a renewed
motivation in Game 3 and cover?
It's just.......something about this Miami team unsettles
me: they always respond when their backs are against the wall, but when they
get a cushion the intensity level seems to drop a little bit. Do the Heat relax
enough here to allow the Thunder to steal one right back? Who knows, but I like
the energy and spirit we saw from OKC as they clawed their way back into Game 2
after a slow start. Too bad it took so long for them to wake up.
Durant, who was even better on the road than at home during
the regular season, needs to shoot the damn ball more and Westbrook needs to
facilitate that, not drive to the basket at 100 miles an hour and toss up a
poor-percentage shot. KD's shooting a terrific 54.2 percent on the road during
the playoffs. Give him the freaking ball and let him do what he does best.
Expect these issues to be addressed. Expect a better game
from start to finish from the Thunder.
(I promise I'm not from Oklahoma City.)
FREE Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder +4
Check back Sunday for my individual prop odds, as well as
to see if anything changes with this pick.
Thunder are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 road games
Thunder are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall
Heat are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 home games
OVER is 5-1 in Oklahoma City's last 6 road games
OVER is 4-1 in Miami's last 5 home games
UNDER is 3-1-1 in the last 5 head-to-head meetings