So far, I’m batting .500 in the NBA Finals, scoring a winner with the Thunder in Game 1 and losing with the Thunder in Game 2. Tonight, I’m going back to the OKC well for two main reasons: 1) I’m not confident the Heat have figured out how to handle prosperity (not to mention pressure), and 2) The Thunder, though young and inexperienced, aren’t going to shrink in a must-win situation. To the first point: In it last series against Boston, Miami took a 2-0 series lead, then dropped the next three before rallying to win Games 6 and 7. And let’s not forget that last year in the Finals, the Heat were in this same position: Up 2-1 on the Mavericks with a big second-half lead — and never won again.
Meanwhile, this isn’t Oklahoma City’s first time in a series hole. Remember, the Thunder trailed the top-seeded Spurs 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals, only to sweep the next four. And while they’ve been plagued by slow starts in this series — Miami has held sizeable leads after the first quarter in all three contests — the Thunder have rallied each time, winning Game 1 by 11 points and falling short the last two games by four and six points. In other words, with a lucky bounce here or there — or with some competent officiating, especially at the end of Game 2 — OKC could easily be up 3-0 right now.
One final point: From April 2-6, the Thunder dropped three straight games (including one in Miami) by a total of 16 points. It was the only time this season — and only the third time since late
January 2010 — that Oklahoma City has had a three-game losing skid. We’re talking more than 220 games. No way does Kevin Durant let it happen again tonight.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Monday’s Result: Angels (PK) vs. Giants (Loss)