Last night’s game was billed as must-win for OKC as no team has been able to recover from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals in, like, ever. The Thunder played with that sense of urgency as they came out of the gates like wildfire, opening up a 17 point lead in the first quarter. The Heat, though, came back and gutted out a tough victory late. While everyone is dancing on OKC’s grave and gathering “yeah, but” arguments about LeBron, the series isn’t quite over yet.
— No LeBron isn’t dropping 50-point games. He’s not holding Durant to three points a game. And he hasn’t hit a game-winner. That’s about all the negativity anyone should be throwing his way this Finals. Bron is doing absolutely everything he needs to get his team W’s every night. Last night, he dropped a near triple dip while making OKC pay every time they double-teamed him.
— There aren’t any confirmed reports but James Harden had to have been spending his first few nights in Miami getting sloshed at King of Diamonds with Trina or something. How else can you explain Harden putting up an absolute stink bomb all Finals? He’s shooting two for 10 including whiffing on open shots all night. While Russy is getting the criticism, Harden is losing the games.
— Scott Brooks never seems to have the right people on the floor at the right time. Collison doesn’t get on the court enough while Kendrick Perkins is still inexplicably getting playing time. The lineups just aren’t clicking and the rotation has a lot to do with it.
— This is the part where we talk about the refs. There was a stretch in the third quarter where the Heat essentially just strolled to the foul line every possession. These games aren’t fixed. Get that through your heads. However, the refs are giving the Heat the benefit of the doubt on every call. Wade and LeBron are getting the phantom foul calls while Durant and Westbrook are getting mauled every time they hit the rack.
— It’s rare that I get emotional over non-Saints games but I really wanted to shed a tear for Russell Westbrook. Russy has endured tons of fair and unfair criticism over the last week and he seemed on his way to exorcising all of the negativity. He attacked the basket with abandon and put Dwyane Wade on tumble dry low for the better part of the night. But this morning all anyone is going to remember is the mental mistake of unnecessarily fouling Chalmers late in the game. People hate LeBron for “The Decision,” “The Parade” and a number of different tangible reasons. Westbrook is getting even more criticism and all he’s doing is going out there and playing his heart out.
— There’s no excuse for Westbrook putting up 32 shots – most of them aggressively driving to the hoop – and going to the free throw line three times. And every game has at least three horrible calls that make you want to turn the television off. Wade fouling Harden all the way down the court on a fast break was that moment for me last night. But unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast. The Thunder are going to have to win going away because when the whistle blows, it’s going Miami’s way. The Heat are taking full advantage of the fact they have carte blanche to bully and push around the Thunder and the young fellas are getting thrown off by it.
— Can we finally put the “LeBron has no help” thing to rest now? It seems like a different member of the Heat has stepped up each game. Early, it was Shane Battier and it was Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers combining for more than 30 last night. Chalmers especially came up big, scoring the key baskets in the fourth.
— *Looks directly into camera* Hey, you. Yes, you. Don’t be that guy on Thursday if the Heat win that says “I told you LeBron would get a ring!” Hate to burst your bubble but everyone knew LeBron would get a ring eventually. You’re essentially predicting that you’ll die one day. Which unfortunately didn’t happen before you could ruin the Internet with your dumb ass comment. Just quietly fist pump and go about your business. You’re welcome.