The Heat earned a hard-fought win in Game 3 and now look to
go up 3-1.
Oklahoma City choked away a double-digit lead on Sunday,
killing their chances of re-gaining home-court advantage as well as our NBA
pick for the game. This was a game the Thunder should have won.
The Thunder still have a couple chances to steal one back in
South Beach and on Thursday they'll try to do so as underdogs yet again.
Similar to the Game 3 line, Oklahoma City is set as a
3.5-point dog, while the total has dropped from 192 to in and around the 191
mark. The UNDER is now 4-1-1 in the last six head-to-head matchups between the
There could be some more movement here as tipoff approaches.
That line could move to four and the total may continue to creep down if the
action continues as it has.
Heat come through in the clutch
Miami had to battle back in Game 3 but played it smart,
driving into the lane and getting to the line time after time. More
importantly, the Heat played suffocating defense when it mattered most.
LeBron James finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds in the
win, while Dwyane Wade put up 25-7-7. Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers struggled,
hitting only 4-of-20 shots between them for 12 total points.
The Thunder got 25 points out of Kevin Durant, but again he
had only 19 shot attempts, hitting 11 of them. A lot of that had to do with
LeBron not allowing the ball to get into KD's hands, but OKC still has to do
whatever it takes to involve their superstar as much as possible.
Elsewhere, Russell Westbrook was mildly disappointing,
ending up with 19 points, five boards and four assists, as was James Harden
(2-of-10 FG for nine points), though Kendrick Perkins had a solid double-double
The Thunder really did battle and will feel unlucky not to
have won, yet this is a young and resilient team and we wouldn't count them out
OKC had that look about them on Tuesday that they weren't
going to back down, and even when they coughed up the lead and went down in the
fourth quarter they still made a few runs to give themselves a chance in the
Durant isn't going to get into foul trouble for a third
straight game, Harden won't go 2-for-10 and the Thunder won't make only 62.5
percent of their free throws again either. They almost won on Tuesday in spite
of all that. Game 4 may very well be when all the pieces come together.
Never back down
One also had to wonder why the line has gone down slightly
despite the Heat covering in Game 3. Do oddsmakers think this is the game OKC
A play on the total may be worth focusing on instead
considering how the topsy turvy nature of this series. Already through three
games there's been countless comebacks and shifts in momentum and we may be
better served on a pick on the OVER for Game 4.
Defense ruled the roost in Game 3, as the Heat held the
Thunder to 39 second-half points.
However, it was an offensive showing that we're not used to
seeing from either side really. OKC shot just 42.0 percent, made 4-of-18
three-pointers and was also just 15-of-24 from the free throw line, while the
Heat were a paltry 37.0 percent from the floor in all. Luckily they got saved
by going to the line 35 times and making 31.
We figured Game 3 would be full of tough-nosed basketball
with both teams getting an extra day of rest and stakes at an all-time high.
Game 4, in our estimation, will be a little more wide open and so we'll exploit
this line and go with the OVER for our NBA Finals pick.
FREE Pick: OVER 191
Thunder are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 road games
Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall
OVER is 4-1-1 in Oklahoma City's last 6 games overall
OVER is 5-2 in Oklahoma City's last 7 road games
Favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 head-to-head meetings