Let’s gone one thing out of the way. Last night was the first night that I’d say that the I noticed majority of bad calls or missed calls by the refs went against Oklahoma City. That said, OKC was right in it last night and had a chance to pounce while LeBron James was sidelined with quad and hamstring cramps. It was the Heat that pounced, instead, including a three pointer with legendary status potential from LeBron James, and hard drive to the rack by Mario Chalmers, and plenty of tough defense all around.
Miami’s effort put to waste an amazing night by Russell Westbrook, who attacked the rim relentlessly and drained jumpers all night, scoring 43 points on 20-32 shooting (Westbrook was amazing all night, right up until committing a costly foul on Chalmers with just five seconds on the Heat’s shot clock). While only Westbrook and Durant scored in double digits for Oklahoma City, Miami got great contributions from Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers. They combined for 38 points on 15-27 shooting. They combined to outscore everyone on Oklahoma not named Durant or Westbrook. Chalmers, in particular, really stepped up – providing 25 points by fearlessly attacking the lane, or fearlessly shooting the open jumper, despite his low shooting percentage during the series. Conspicuous by his lack of production was James Harden, who once again went only 2-10 from the field.
With the Heat up 3-1, and one home game left for them, and all the advantages therein, the Heat will need the same kind of team effort they used last night to clinch the series. It’s safe to assume that the six superstars will about cancel each other out. The difference in this series can come from the lesser players on the court. And the Heat will need at least one or two of them to show up big. Otherwise, the Heat will have the unenviable task of winning in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder play at a higher level than on the road – particularly Harden.