Game 4 NBA Finals 2012: Pivotal Tilt Won't Be Decided by LeBron or Durant
This is the showdown that every basketball fan has wanted since the NBA playoffs started. It's the perfect storyline. They were the two protagonists throughout the entire season; well, they would be in a story that had two protagonists. LeBron, though, is the villain in the eyes of everybody outside of South Beach and Seattle. Durant is the beloved challenger to LeBron's title as the best player in the NBA.
That doesn't matter though. It's been amazing to watch the two go head-to-head down the stretch of the first three games, but Game 4 won't be decided by either of the superstars.
The two have put up virtually identical scoring statistics in the first three games. James is averaging just over 30 points per game, while Durant has put up 31 a night. The games have been close, but none have been decided by one point.
Of course, you have to take situational scoring and clutch statistics into account; but stats are stats, and the stats say that the discrepancy between Bron Bron and KD hasn't been profound.
That means the series is being decided by another matchup.
Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Shane Battier have outscored Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka by nearly six points per night. The trio for the Miami Heat has put up 49 points per game to the Oklahoma City Thunder's group of just over 43 points a night.
The last two games of the series have been decided by a total of 10 points, with the Heat winning Game 2 and Game 3 by scores of 100-96 and 91-85, respectively.
What will decide Game 4?
It seems like the clash between James and Durant has swayed the series in favor of the Heat, but that is not the case.
If I came to you last week and said that Battier would have bested Harden in the first three games in this series, you would have laughed in my face. I would have never said that, because it didn't seem possible at the time, but it has indeed happened.
Battier has found the fountain of youth in this series after causing Heat fans to rip their hair out for most of the season. Harden, who you could argue has pulled even with Westbrook in terms of fan affection and importance to the team, has headed in the opposite direction in the Finals.
Nature, Father Time and the laws of physics all say that Battier's 74 percent clip from the field won't hold up for much longer. History, trends and common sense indicate that Harden will be able to vindicate himself in the coming games.
With all the focus on James and Durant, Miami's 2-1 advantage hasn't been decided by the two. It is because of their respective supporting casts that we stand here now.
We'll just have to wait and see how it pans out tonight at the American Airlines Arena.
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