NBA Finals 2012: Thunder Will Fight Back and Extend Series

Kristen RodgersCorrespondent IIJune 20, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder attempts to drive around a pick set by teammates Serge Ibaka #9 against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Miami Heat may be on the brink of winning the 2012 NBA Finals after going up 3-1 in the series over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, but don’t count OKC out just yet.

If Game 4 was any indication of the Thunder’s potential power, then we know that the Thunder are capable of outscoring the Heat (OKC had an early 17-point lead over the Heat) and potentially taking Game 5.

The Big Three for OKC will have to be firing on all cylinders if they want to win Thursday night, but past performances show us that they can.

Here’s how the Thunder will win Game 5.

Russell Westbrook’s Shooting Spree

In Game 4, Westbrook surprised everyone—especially the Heat—when he scored 43 points, 11 of them consecutively in the second half to keep the Thunder in it.

In the end, Westbrook’s run may have seemed too little too late for the Thunder, but the sheer enormity of his streak should prove to be a motivation for the Thunder come Game 5.

OKC’s other two big shooters—Kevin Durant and James Harden—both failed to perform on Tuesday night, scoring only 34 points between the two of them, but Westbrook’s feat will definitely light a fire under the OKC and the scoreboard. Expect another high-scoring game from Westbrook on Thursday night.

Kevin Durant’s Defensive Switch

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 19:  James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives for a shot attempt against Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After some foul trouble earlier in the series, Durant switched from guarding LeBron James to Mario Chalmers. This was thought to be a good move for Durant because it kept him safe from fouls and rid him of the responsibility of guarding LeBron.

However Durant wasn’t prepared for the firepower that Chalmers brought in Game 4 and was caught off guard. Chalmers scored only five points over the previous two games, so his 25 points on Tuesday night was a surprise for everyone.

Now that Durant knows what Chalmers is capable of, you can bet that he will definitely put more effort into his defensive game and prevent Chalmers from a repeat performance in Game 5.

James Harden’s Bad Luck

Some have said that Harden hasn’t really showed up to the NBA Finals yet, and after Game 4, that looks to be true. Harden was in the single-digits on Tuesday night scoring only eight points, but despite his slow start in the series, he did show a glimmer of hope.

Harden had ten rebounds in Game 4, which is more than anyone on the Heat. Also, although he was 3-16 in three-points on Tuesday, most of them actually rattled right out and realistically should have dropped.

Chalk it up to bad luck, because with a little work on his shooting accuracy, Harden will snap out of his finals funk and sink those three-point shots.