Thunder Host Miami Heat For Game 2

By: Don Best Staff | Wednesday, June 13, 2012

There isn't much change in the spread or total from Game 1 to Game 2 as the NBA Finals resume Thursday night in Oklahoma City.  The Thunder are 5-point favorites to take a two-nothing lead over the Miami Heat with the total opening at 196.

The Don Best Odds closed with Ok City -5 and 196 for the total in Tuesday's series opener that saw the Thunder shake off a slow start to take a 105-94 victory.  Kevin Durant topped the ledger with 36 points, six better than LeBron James' 30 to lead the Heat.

Miami's loss did sweeten the return on a Heat championship to +235 for anyone who still likes LeBron & Co. in this series.  That price is exactly where they were in early December as the favorites to win it all when the strike ended.  Jumping on the Oklahoma City bandwagon at this point will cost you -280.

The Heat had the early lead in Game 1 before falling off in the second half, something Don Best Sports analyst Monte Scates said might have been the result of going the distance in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

"Miami did have control of the game for the better part of three quarters, lost it at the end of the third and were unable to take over in the fourth quarter," Scates noted.  "Perhaps it was because they were a little bit tired after that seven game series."

Don Best's Pat Williams pointed to the fast-break scoring as the biggest difference in the outcome of Game 1, with the Thunder having a 24-4 advantage in that facet of the contest.  Scates believes Oklahoma City might be the only team in the league that can top Miami's fast-break.

"I don't think I've ever seen a game in which Miami only had four points in transition," Scates said. "One thing (Miami) can do to slow (the Thunder) down is stop shooting so many jump shots.  Long jump shots provide long rebounds which provide fast-break points."

The Heat converted on their early long jump shots, sinking 5-of-6 from 3-point land to take a 7-point lead after the first stanza.  But Miami could only find the net three times in the last 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

While Durant's 36 paced the Thunder, two more key contributors in the victory were Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison.  Westbrook finished two boards shy of a triple-double with 27 points and 11 assists.  Collison played 21 minutes off the bench and grabbed 10 rebounds (5 offensive) to go with his eight points.

Dwyane Wade did score 19 for the Heat, but on just 7-of-19 shooting.  He was also no match on defense for the quicker Westbrook.

Oklahoma City remains a perfect 9-0 at home during the playoffs following Tuesday's triumph, and Game 1 continued the streak of 'overs' at Chesapeake Energy Arena to four.  The Thunder failed to cover their first two home games vs. Dallas in the opening round of the postseason, but have since cashed six of the last seven at home.

Miami has now lost four of its last six straight up, and covered just two of the last seven playoff tilts.

ABC will broadcast Game 2 that tips a little after 9:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday. The teams will take two days off before Game 3 in Miami on Sunday.

 
 
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