In: NBA Free Picks21 Jun 2012
NBA Finals Predictions: Game 5 Oklahoma City Thunder (+3) at Miami Heat (-3) Over-Under: 193.5
This is the series that all of us wanted. The leading scorer in the regular season vs the leading scorer in the post season. Kevin Durant vs LeBron James. This game is flooded with stars. Big 3 vs Big 3. Good vs Evil. Thunder vs Heat. That’s what we wished for, and thats what we’ve been given.
Shane Battier was the surprise player in both Game 1 and Game 2. He had 17 points in both those games. In the entire regular season, Battier only had a single game in which he scored 17 or more. He was 9 of 13 in those 2 games from 3 point range. On the season he is only a 33.9% from 3. He had 2 of his best games all season in the finals.
You cannot expect this. You just cannot rely on a guy doing something he has only done a handful of times all season.
On top of that, James Harden, the 6th man of the year, has only scored a total of 17 points in his last 2 games. He is just 4 of 20 over that span. This will not continue. Before this NBA Finals, Harden only scored single digit points in 4 games all season. To say he cannot score against the Heat defense is a little exaggerated also. In the regular season Harden was 11 of 18, for 31 points against the Heat.
This is the key tonight, James Harden. They need him in a big way, and I expect him to step up to the challenge.
This is how the Thunder win Game 5. James Harden scored at least 18 points and is a huge spark. The Thunder get to the free throw line and convert more free throws than the Heat. They were #1 in the league in the regular season, so that doesn’t seem like a stretch. And for only the 2nd time in this series the Thunder win the rebound battle. They did it in Game 1 when they had 10 offensive rebounds and 43 total boards compared to Heat’s 7 offensive rebounds and 35 total boards. Since then Miami has pulled down more offensive and total rebounds. That shouldn’t happen. Miami is the much smaller team. Harden, Free throws and rebounds are how the Thunder send this game back to Oklahoma City for at least 1 more.