Westbrook, Harden: Random Thoughts from Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals

Clarence Baldwin JrAnalyst IJune 20, 2012

Westbrook's singular brilliance was not enough
Westbrook's singular brilliance was not enoughMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

*James Harden may look like Grady from Sanford and Son, but far too often he has played like him. Harden was bad in Game 4 and anything resembling that effort going forward will result in the Thunder walking off the floor Thursday night with their season over and Miami crowned world champions.

*The NBA Finals may have finally introduced fans to a player remotely as polarizing as LeBron James in Russell Westbrook. His Game 4 was mostly spectacular, putting up a 43/7/5 and shredding Dwyane Wade's defense.

The problem was, he saved his worst plays for the end, committing a pair of killer turnovers. Of course, that pales in comparison to the inexplicable foul he committed on Mario Chalmers that essentially ended the game with 13 seconds left. No one is as equally brilliant and maddening as Westbrook and yet, he almost single-handedly won Game 4 for Oklahoma City down the stretch.

*Which leads to the next point: Kevin Durant needs a statement, we're not losing like this game Thursday night. He scored 28 of the most quiet points I have seen in a long time. Some of it could be attributed to the fact that Westbrook was electric much of the night. But Durant seemed a little timid in the fourth quarter. That is a very bad omen for OKC going forward. 

*Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole were fantastic for the Heat. Chalmers, in particular, was the difference for them in this game. Shane Battier received great defense for the second straight game, but Chalmers' penetration and clutch shooting stretches out the Thunder's defense even more. It will be interesting to see what Scott Brooks does to combat that element of Miami's offense.

*Move over Paul Pierce, looks like you've got company for the "Fake Willis Reed" award. Yeah, I'm sure LeBron James had cramps. And I know they hurt like the devil when severe. But I also am not visually able to see he had no ill effects offensively when he stroked that clutch three over Thabo Sefalosha. Then suddenly, the cramps returned. Midol, you have a new spokesperson. 

*BOLD PREDICTION: Miami better win this series Thursday because if it goes back to Oklahoma City, I have a sneaky feeling that they will make the wrong kind of history and lose a 3-1 Finals lead. Luckily for Heat fans, that will not be an issue because the series ends Thursday night.