Thunder vs. Heat Game 4: Pick Against the Spread
With three games down, the Miami Heat have jumped out to a commanding 2-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder and are looking to extend the series lead to three games to one on Thursday night. Despite only shooting 37 percent from the field in game three, Miami managed to escape with the victory, thanks to 29 points from LeBron James and 25 points from Dwyane Wade.
TV: 9:00 pm ET, ABC, TSN
Line: Miami -3.5
Thunder: Oklahoma City did a much better job of getting off to a faster start in the first half, only trailing by one point. But the shooting performance is still struggling mightily throughout the game. The Thunder missed a ton of open shots and only made 22 percent of 18 attempts from beyond the arc. Kevin Durant continues to play like a monster, he but is receiving no help from players such as James Harden, who had playoff lows in points and assists during the last three games. Durant tells ESPN:
It was frustrating. Of course we had a good lead and they came back and made some shots. We fouled shooters on the 3-point line twice. It's a tough break for us, man. You know, I hate sitting on the bench, especially with fouls.
Who do you have in game 4?
Heat: Miami missed several open shots as well but did manage to get to the line 35 times and make 88 percent of those attempts. The Heat also somehow managed to out-rebound the Thunder by seven, despite having limited big men. The big three are actually playing like a big three as of late and are getting key contributions from players such as Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem and a hobbled Mike Miller.
"Last year I don't know if we was experienced enough as a unit to deal with what came at us," Wade said (also via ESPN). "I just feel like we understand the situations more and we can deal with it better."
Prediction: It seems like everyone was quick to overreact over the Thunder's Game 1 victory, and it is now the Heat that have taken control of this series. It would be foolish to write off an explosive team such as Oklahoma City, but I truly think that Miami has this series in the bag now. They are tightening up on both ends of the floor particularly on defense, and the Thunder are simply getting little to no help from that supporting cast we heard so much about.
Miami, the more experienced team, is at home and can finally taste that ring that is only two victories away from becoming a reality. You just get the feeling that the pressure is really starting to get to the Thunder, considering they haven't quite been in this position before. I will take the home team minus the points.
The Heat is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall and is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven home games versus a team with a winning road record.
Pick: Heat win 102-97
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