Well, we’re not actually moving to Miami. Unless I can talk to our editor about sending us on a field trip. (Rob, what up?) Let’s see how this goes…unless I don’t have a job here anymore. You know what, let’s just roll into my five points.
1. Someone please get Oklahoma City a 5-hour energy drink: I don’t want to beat this point into the ground, but the Oklahoma City Thunder simply can’t afford to keep digging holes to try and climb out of later in the game. Those moments of comeback are special, and the Thunder are well-equipped to do it. However, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should have to all the time. Miami’s too good to allow them to be frontrunners, they were built to play that way.
So what can OKC do? It reminds me of what legendary football coach Bill Walsh and all of his disciples would do at the beginning of games. Draw up a script of 15 plays and run them regardless of the situation. While many want to slander and ridicule Russell Westbrook (we’ll get to him in a minute) for how he played in game two, if you’ve watched this Thunder team play, then you know that he plays exactly like that all the time. (Hat tip to @TrueSportsTalk for the reference.) Scott Brooks knows that, and admittedly the first quarter is usually a feeling out process for both teams. Therefore, if I’m Brooks, give the offense 5-10 actual plays to run, to facilitate the offense and get people shots. After that, give the reins back to Westbrook and let him flourish accordingly.
2. That was the most impressive performance in Chris Bosh’s tenure in Miami: I’m hesitant to say in Bosh’s career, only because I probably watched Bosh play in an actual game for the Toronto Raptors on my television 2-3 times ever. Regardless, I don’t think Bosh’s stat line does justice to how effective he was on Thursday. Those 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks felt like double in game 2. Every time a ball was up for grabs, it seemed like Bosh had ESP with the ball, getting to every rebound. Every time Bosh had the ball around the rim, he finished strong. More importantly, Bosh just looked confident. Maybe in part to being 100% healthy, but it looks to be more than that. He knows his role and knows how to be authoritative in it. If Bosh plays like that for the entire series, Miami is scary good.
Quick Intermission: Take one minute and enjoy the Serge Ibaka block on LeBron James late in the first quarter as LeBron tried to silence the crowd with an Akron Hammer, but Ibaka channeled his inner-Mutombo instead.
3. The Curious Case of Russell Westbrook: Russell Westbrook put up 27 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and just 2 turnovers in OKC’s game 2 loss. Of course, the narrative following the game is that Westbrook is the worst point guard in the league. For fear that I’ll ramble off 1,000 words on the fan’s Miseducation of Russell Westbrook right now, let me condense my third point into three mini points:
●Kevin Durant’s thoughts on Westbrook back in April, viaDarnellMayberryofTheOklahoman: “We’re worse when I take more shots,” Durant said. “Like I said, that guy doesn’t know a thing. I don’t think he watches us. I think he just looks at the stats. And traditionally, a point guard is not supposed to take more shots than everybody else on the team. But we’re better when he does do that and he’s aggressive. And I’m better when I’m out there facilitating, rebounding, defending and being more efficient on my shots with less shots.”
●The Thunder are 27-6 this season when Westbrook shoots more than Kevin Durant.
●After a horrid first quarter where Westbrook shot 2-10 from the field, he finished shooting 8-16 from the field with that impressive 27/8/7 stat line. One bad quarter from Westbrook didn’t lose game 2, that took a team effort.
4. This LeBron James fella is freakin’ scary in the 2012 Finals: Not sure if you noticed or not, but that’s two consecutive 30+ points, 8+ rebounds games from LBJ. The man shot 12-12 from the free throw line and they needed every single one of those points from the charity stripe. In fact, after re-watching game 2, its amazing how many times LeBron scored a crucial bucket right when Oklahoma City was in position to charge back in the game. He did it in the second and third quarter, right when OKC was ready to pounce. Eventually, OKC got the lead down to four points, but clutch free throws and that insane runner off the glass was just unfair. For the first time, OKC has no defensive answer for the best player on the floor, thus it is time to probably time to give some credit to Erik Spolestra. If you notice, LeBron’s positioned on the right baseline near the block 80-90% of the time. Every shot is 18 feet and in, and LeBron’s either on target or getting fouled. It got Durant in heavy foul trouble and it kept Miami’s momentum rolling throughout the game.
5. Stop hating on the 2-3-2 Finals format: I’ll keep this one simple. Championship teams win games on the road. Oklahoma City won a huge game on the road in game 5 versus the Spurs of the West Finals, and Miami won a huge game on the road in game 6 versus the Celtics. Stop complaining and let these boys cook in Miami.