In game 1 of the Western conference finals Dirk Nowitzki had one of the greatest all-time playoff performances. 48 points on 15 shots, 12-15 FG and a record 24-24 from the line. The Thunder have to choose to single Dirk, who is basically unguardable and let him go nuts like he did in game 1, or “hold” him to 25 by doubling him and hoping the rest of the team misses shots. I think I roll the dice with the outside shooting the rest of the team, but neither option is very appealing.
In game 2 Westbrook ends up being benched for the entire 4th quarter while Maynor plays some solid minutes. Harden, Maynor and Cook all came up huge and the Thunder won. Don’t expect this to be a trend. When Westbrook and Maynor are both playing their A game Westbrook is much better. The Thunder have to hope Westbrook pulls it together and plays team ball at least 3 more times this series. I also wouldn’t bank my money on Harden, Maynor, Cook and Collison shooting a combined 15-23 again.
OK, so I didn’t expect the Thunders bench to go off like they did in game 2, but the Thunder were 30 seconds away from setting a playoff record for most 3-point attempts without a bucket before Westbrook connected on their 17th and final attempt with 30 seconds left in the game. The Thunder are also not going to win when Westbrook has 7 turnovers and 4 assists. Durant should not have more assists and almost the same amount of shot attempts as his point guard.
I don’t expect Marion to play like he did in game 4 again, but Peja, Barea, and Kidd have been consistent throughout the playoffs. The Thunder have been really inconsistent from game to game. I think the Thunder take game 4 with another huge performance from Durant and Harden, followed by Dirk taking over and carrying his team to victory in games 5 and 6. I’m just basing this on what I’ve seen so far. OKC will be good for the next decade but they aren’t consistent enough this year to hang with the Mavs for a full 7 games.
So the west plays 3 games in the span of the Bulls/Heat playing one game. What the hell? Lebron plays 46 minute and gets called for 3 fouls. As you know, a formal complaint gets filed with the league if Lebron gets called for 4 or more fouls in one game, so that was close.
What swung game 2? Udonis Haslem. I can’t believe I’m writing that. Having a 4thoption on offense is huge for Miami.
Fan up Miami. Last round they couldn’t sell out a playoff game. Even fair weather band wagon fans should be excited about a conference finals home playoff game.
We all know the keys for Miami winning. Lebron, Wade and Bosh stay out of foul trouble and 2 out of 3 have a big game, with one other teammate contributing on offense. The key for Chicago winning is Luol Deng. When he scores 20+ the Bulls almost always win. Having Boozer and Korver not completely stink would also help. Rose can’t do it all every single game.