Heat vs Thunder: Keys to an Oklahoma City Victory in Game 4
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost a pivotal Game 3 in South Beach last night and now find themselves down 2-1 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals with two more games to play in Miami before they head back to Oklahoma City.
If the Zombies want to make it back to the Chesapeake Energy Arena, they'll need to fix a couple problems that haunted them in Game 2 and Game 3.
Here are three keys to a Thunder victory in Game 4.
James Harden Must Find His Old Self
Game 2 aside, Harden has been absolutely brutal this series.
In Game 1, "The Beard" scored five points on 2-of-6 shooting, by far his worst output of the postseason. He only played 22 minutes, which is no fault of his own, but he was ineffective when he was on the court for the Thunder.
He didn't do much of anything because he found himself in foul trouble all night. Five points, three assists and four fouls from the NBA Sixth Man of the Year isn't going to get it done for the Thunder if they want to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
He was even worse in Game 3, shooting 2-of-10 from the field en route to nine pints on the night. Game 1 and Game 3 were the only contests that Harden was held to single digits this postseason. He picked up four fouls again in Game 3, but did notch six dimes and six boards.
He wasn't as bad in Game 3 as he was in the series opener, but the Thunder need him to score in the 15-plus range to come back from this deficit.
Keep Russell Westbrook From Resorting to His Alter-Ego
It looked like Westbrook realized that Oklahoma City wasn't his team during the San Antonio Spurs series when he constantly defaulted to Kevin Durant down the stretch.
I'm sick of hearing that the Thunder have a better record when Westbrook shoots more than Durant. That is some kind of freak statistic that doesn't accurately reflect when this team is at their best.
Durant isn't a volume scorer. He doesn't need to take 28 shots to score 36 points. Westbrook does. If you give Durant an open shot, he's going to sink it.
KD is shooting over 57 percent in the NBA Finals. Westbrook hasn't fared so well, posting a shooting percentage of 41 percent. They are both freak athletes and two of the best at what they do, but Durant needs to have the ball in his hands more. If nothing else, it reduces the amount of wild attempts that Westbrook takes.
Make Free Throws
They are free! You have to hit the free ones.
The inability to hit a high percentage of free throw attempts has doomed the Thunder in two of their last three contests.
In Game 2, the Thunder converted just more than 73 percent of its opportunities from the stripe. The Heat hit 88 percent of its freebies.
What is the biggest key to the Thunder winning Game 4?
The Zombies were even worse from the line in Game 3. As a team, the Thunder shot just 62.5 percent from the line to the Heat's 88.6 percent. Oklahoma City went 15-of-24, while Miami converted 31-of-35.
The discrepancy between the amount of free throws taken is substantial, but if the Thunder hit just five more foul shots to bring them to 83 percent, they would have tied the game. Of course, it's easy to say that after the game, but the importance of free throws cannot be understated.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?