Thursday, June 14, 2012
Heat have tough road against Thunder
By ESPN Stats & Information
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesThe Miami Heat will try and even the series tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder (ABC and ESPN3, 9 ET), but Elias tells us that Miami may already be in trouble. The Heat now trail in their third different series this postseason, and no team has ever won a title after trailing in three different series in a single postseason.
Westbrook joined Michael Jordan as the only players with 25 points and 10 assists in his Finals debut.
What's more, in each of their previous two NBA Finals appearances, the Heat lost Game 2 in both series (2006 and 2011). Miami is 4-5 on the road this postseason while averaging just 92.1 points, compared to 99.4 points at home. That road average is crucial, as the Heat are 8-0 this postseason when scoring at least 100 points but just 4-7 this postseason when they fail to reach 100.
Don't Blame James
While LeBron James struggled in the fourth quarter in the Finals last year against the Dallas Mavericks, that was not the case in Game 1 this time around. James ranked first on the team in field goal attempts and free throws in the fourth quarter and tied with Dwyane Wade for the team-high in points and points in the paint. His four free throw attempts were also more than the rest of the Heat combined.
James has also scored at least 25 points in each of his last 11 games, the second-longest streak of scoring 25+ points in his postseason career (had a 17-game streak across the 2008 and 2009 postseason).
Things certainly look good for the Thunder. Since moving to Oklahoma City entering the 2008-09 season, the Thunder are 3-0 in series when they win Game 1. The Thunder are also 9-0 at home this postseason, and according to Elias, that is tied for the longest home win streak to start a postseason in franchise history. The Seattle SuperSonics started the 1978 postseason also winning nine.
What do the Thunder need to do to win Game 2? The answer lies in the fast break. The Thunder outscored the Heat in fast break points 24-4 in Game 1, marking the team’s second-highest fast break differential this postseason.
Another incredible game by Kevin Durant certainly wouldn't hurt, either. Durant’s 36 points in Game 1 tied the franchise mark for most points in a Finals game, and he also became the fourth-youngest (23 years-257 days) player in NBA history to score at least 35 points in a NBA Finals game.
Teammate Russell Westbrook is also heating up, having recorded at least 20 points and 10 assists in two of his last three games overall. That's impressive, considering he did not record any 20-10 games in his first 13 games this postseason. What's more, Elias says Westbrook is only the second player to record at least 25 points and 10 assists in his Finals debut, alongside Michael Jordan.