How OKC Thunder Can Be Ready for NBA Finals Rematch with Miami Heat

Ricky FrechCorrespondent IApril 5, 2013

Kevin Durant is in the midst of a great season, but how can his team improve its chances against the Miami Heat?
Kevin Durant is in the midst of a great season, but how can his team improve its chances against the Miami Heat?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder haven't beaten the Miami Heat since the first game of the 2012 NBA Finals.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's six straight Heat victories over the young OKC team.

When you're going up against a team as stacked as Miami, it's always going to be rough, and it doesn't help that the Thunder play right into the Heat's strengths.

Think about it: The Thunder have virtually no inside scoring, meaning they can't take advantage of Miami's lack of quality frontcourt players. OKC also plays uptempo basketball, something the Heat and their many athletes love to do.

It's not to say that the Thunder can't beat the Heat in a seven-game series, but it's definitely going to be a struggle.

In fact, after the performances turned in by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook last year, it's difficult to imagine what the Oklahoma City stars could do differently. 

That said, if you were to try to pinpoint the one thing Oklahoma City could do differently the next time it plays Miami, it might be to attack LeBron James with more perimeter defenders.

Obviously, no one is going to be able to stop James, but guys like Ronnie Brewer and, to a lesser extent, DeAndre Liggins might be able to throw a few kinks in the Heat machine.

If you go back and look at last season's Finals, you'll notice that OKC never once used a player off the bench who's known for his perimeter defense. Instead, the Thunder decided to give 20-plus minutes a game to the defensive liability that is Derek Fisher.

Giving those minutes to a respected defender like Ronnie Brewer would force LeBron to work harder for his points and could even allow Kevin Durant to focus more on his offensive game.

No one is going to stop James, but throwing as many fresh bodies at him as possible couldn't hurt. I hesitate to say that anyone can wear the King out, because with that superhuman body, I'm not even sure it's possible.

However, it's one of the few things Oklahoma City hasn't really tried against the defending champs.

Maybe this one slight tweak will be what takes the Thunder over the top.