NBA Finals 2012: Role Players Who Will Decide Game 4 of Thunder vs. Heat
As the clock struck zero on the Miami Heat's victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, everyone turned their attention to Game 4.
One of the biggest problems that both teams had in Sunday's game was the performance of the role players. Stars are going to get you to this point, but teams need to have the underrated players step up to win a championship.
We all know that LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to get their touches. But which players not getting front-page attention will step up their game to decide Game 4?
Shane Battier, SF, Miami Heat
Which Role Player Will Have The Biggest Impact On Game 4?
It seems strange to say, especially at this point in his career, but there is an argument that Battier has been the second-best player for the Heat in these finals. He doesn't have the flash of Wade, but he has been far more consistent on both sides of the ball.
What Battier lacks in offensive prowess, he more than makes up for with an in-your-face approach to defense. The Heat can't match the Thunder's depth, so their ability to get stops and create transition buckets is vital to success in this series.
Battier had just nine points in Game 3, but he shot 2-for-2 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. Another performance like that on offense, to go along with stifling defense, will make the Heat difficult to beat.
Thabo Sefolosha, SG, Oklahoma City Thunder
When Sefolosha is hitting shots consistently, everything opens up for the Thunder's high-octane offense. He has had problems finding the hoop in the last two games and, unsurprisingly, the Thunder have lost.
Unlike Durant or Westbrook, Sefolosha is not going to score much. But he needs to be efficient when he does throw up a shot. Part of that comes with being able to find an open spot to stop and shoot. Part of it comes from being set up by Westbrook, if he decides to pass the ball.
Sefolosha can't shoot 3-for-8 again or grab just two rebounds for the Thunder if they hope to get back to Oklahoma City.
Serge Ibaka, PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
There was a time in the Western Conference Finals when Ibaka looked like the third superstar on the Thunder's roster. While that was a bit premature, his importance to the starting rotation has never been more evident than in the NBA Finals.
With Durant and Westbrook shouldering a lot of the load, Ibaka has scored just 12 points combined in the last two games. That is unacceptable and will be the reason the Thunder don't walk away with the championship everyone had them winning before the series.
Ibaka should have saved his best for last, but he is far from the same player he was against San Antonio. Game 4 is Ibaka's chance to redeem himself for the last two games.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?