The Importance of Game 4
Zero. That's how many teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit in an NBA Finals to win the series (since they switched to the 2-3-2 format). That is why game four is a must win for the Thunder because that is what they will face if they lose. Game three was a tough one to watch as a Thunder fan. The missed free throws, the turnovers down the stretch, Kevin Durant in foul trouble for a second game in a row, it was not Thunder basketball period. OKC got beat in the paint again, out rebounded again, and beat in fast break points again. Good news? It was still a close game with the final score 91-85. Other good news? OKC has yet to play a game in this series where they've played four good quarters. However, they need to regain their sense of urgency and that fire that somehow has been lost since game one.
OKC needs to get back to doing the things that got them to the finals. In game three, they shot only 62.5% from the line. This is the team that all regular season and post season long has been the best free throw shooting team in the league. They also had only 12 fast break points last night and that is not enough. They are the only team that has the legs to out run the Miami Heat and make them look slow and that is what they need to do. OKC needs to run and score more points in transition. Part of that however, comes from rebounding. OKC got beat on the boards last night 45-38. When the Thunder out rebound their opponent, much more often than not, they win. In addition, they need to have better ball movement. OKC had only 11 assists last night. Their ball movement has been much improved this post season and they need to have that mentality of passing first. These are all things that helped get them to the Finals and these are the things they need to do to turn this series around again.
Miami has now gained the lead in this series for the first time but Miami has lost a lead before and OKC has experience playing from behind. With the series now 2-1 it's still close but game four will be the most important game of the series so far. If Miami wins, OKC will have to do something no team has done before but if OKC wins, this series still has a long way to go. One thing you can count on from the Thunder is that they won't panic and they won't give up. Expect them to play their hearts out tomorrow night because game four may be the difference in whether or not 2012 will be the year they win their first title.