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NBA Finals 2012: On Game 4

Finals unravel to the end
by Gelo Gonzales | Jun 20, 2012
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LeBron James is just a win away from his first NBA championship.

We’re betting you didn’t expect that to happen this early on the series—or to even hear or read that at all.

But with a masterful 104-98 Game 4 victory against the young Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron and his co-Big Three has taken a 3-1 series lead and—hopefully, notwithstanding a giant collapse—will finally be able to fulfill the promise of their great tandem.

So, what happened? Well, it all comes down to this: For all their talent, OKC still appears to be a little bit raw. Heat appears to be the more fluid team.

That was apparent in the countless times that the Thunder opted to go one-on-one instead of running their set plays.

The Heat also had more assists, were moving the ball much better, were crashing the boards like housewives would crash a department store on a “Mega Sale!”, and were just plain more, as they say in the vernacular, buo ang loob.

The enigma that is Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is arguably the best combo guard in the NBA. His 43 points in Game 4 was sensational. He was almost heroic in the way he answered almost every possible momentum-swinging Miami play. However, he’s still young. And by that we mean he tends to commit erratic—almost boneheaded—plays. For example, he went four-for-four early on the game then missed an easy dunk because he wanted to turn it into a highlight reel-worthy one, then he forced a shot on the very next possession. We were almost prepared to let these slide as we watched him decimate the Heat with daredevil drives in the waning stages of the game. But, alas, he went bonkers again, ending the game with a useless foul and a turnover.

Where is James Harden?
No, seriously, where is the “The Beard”? He hasn’t hit anything big the entire series. And in Game 4 it seems the big stage has gotten to the Sixth Man of the Year. Allow us to breakdown his dreadfulness: eight points, two-for-ten shooting, a bungled crucial fastbreak lay-up, and his ultimate WTF moment: down by five with under a minute to go and the Thunder coming off a timeout Harden came off a screen, got the ball, saw that his defender had fallen to the ground and had left him open then…stood there not knowing what to do. Um, James, a piece of advice: it doesn’t matter what your percentages are, if you’re that open, SHOOT THE DAMN BALL!

Super superstars
LeBron had 26 points, nine rebounds, and 12 assists. Dwyane Wade continued providing help to The King with 25 points while Chris Bosh again was the stabilizing factor with 13 points and nine rebounds. The Thunder? Westbrook had 43 points, seven rebounds, and five assist and Kevin Durant had 28 points. But other than that nobody else really is worth mentioning. Which is bad considering the next bit we’re about to point out…

The Heat’s Big 4, 5, 6
Or namely Mario Chalmers (25 points), Norris Cole (eight points in nearly eight minutes), and Shane Battier (four points and a gamut of heady plays that no statistician could ever account for). The rest of the Heat finally understand that their Big Three can’t do everything, the rest of the Thunder needs to realize that quickly.

What to expect in Game 5?
It’ll be much more like Game 4: Players will go hard at each other, the first half will be played in spurts (although the Thunder need to relearn how to protect double digits, losing a 17-point lead in under four minutes is just unacceptable and downright dumb), both teams will try their darnest to shift the game’s momentum to their side in the third quarter, then the superstars (and the role players who have decided to step up) will shine in the fourth quarter. In short, it’ll be another great game. Or a team just comes out of the dugout and blows by the other team, which the Thunder appears to be more capable of but so far can’t pull of.

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