NBA Finals 2012: Random Thoughts from Game One

Clarence Baldwin Jr@2ndclarenceAnalyst IJune 13, 2012

Tough night for Zo and Riles
Tough night for Zo and RilesMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

*Kevin Durant dominated the fourth quarter, but Russell Westbrook was the best player on the floor in game one. His energy, his attitude and his frenetic pace when opportunities provided themselves, allowed Oklahoma City to slowly chip away at an early Miami lead. The smart decision making Westbrook exhibited in the game will have to carry over going forward.

* LeBron did not turn into 75 Cent exactly (you know, three quarters), but was not the factor (again) he needed to be in the fourth quarter. Some of the deferring we saw in Dallas last year came back. For Miami to win at Chesapeake Energy Arena, James has to grab the fourth quarter by the throat and squeeze it like one of those hand grips you see at the gym. 

*I was surprised by the discrepancy in the depth of these teams. I mean, we all know Miami doesn't exactly have a Bench Mob, but Mike Miller and Joel Anthony gave them nothing. And Chris Bosh is a starter in reserves clothing. By contrast, Nick Collison played minutes that helped swing this game in the Thunder's favor. Combine that with the steady play of battle tested Derek Fisher and suddenly, James Harden having a five point, three assist night is not a fatal blow for OKC.

*Dwyane Wade, your presence will be needed. Stat. Which leads me to my next thought...

*Thabo Sefalosha was huge. Absolutely ferocious defense on Wade (7 for 19 from the field and three turnovers) and his nine points were an added bonus. His play helped to offset another glue guy, Shane Battier, who was fabulous in tallying 17 points and four rebounds. Battier was the second best player for Miami tonight. That is not a recipe for their success.

*Finally, do not take anything absolute away from tonight. There are too many variables for both teams to take this series any further than one game. Wade can play better. So can Bosh. But so can Harden. The biggest x-factor might be the home court advantage the Thunder clearly seem to have. It is very daunting winning a game in that building. So far, no one has done it in the playoffs. OKC does not have to win in South Beach to win a title. But Miami does have to get one in a place the Thunder seems to roll with regularity.