OKC Thunder (13-6, 4-5 road) vs. Miami Heat (15-7, 10-2 home)
Heat lead series 3-1
View from the enemy: Heat Index
MIAMI — “Don’t let us win one tonight. Don’t let the Thunder win this game.”
That’s the mindset. The Kevin Millar mindset. All the Thunder ever had to do in Miami was win a game. If it happened in Game 3, wonderful. Game 4, great too. Game 5, that makes things tougher, but fine. Just win one, bring it back to Oklahoma City and play for a Game 7.
That said, there’s no denying the reality of the situation. The Thunder trail 3-1, and teams are 0-30 in that circumstance. And the Thunder sold out for Game 4, playing as hard as I’ve ever seen them. They competed like their life depended on it then, and now that it really does, we’ll see what kind of effort they give. I wouldn’t ever expect this team to go down without a fight, but mentally, there may just be a hurdle than can’t jump.
Still, this Thunder team hasn’t lost four straight in some 280 games, the longest in the league. The reason? They’re that good. Beating them four consecutive times takes a major accomplishment because there’s so much talent on the floor.
S you want optimism? Here let me give you some optimism. Dwyane Wade’s back might still be hurting. LeBron’s cramping might not be done with. And the Thunder are facing elimination for the first time this season. If we saw a desperate team in Game 3 against the Spurs or even Game 4 in Miami, imagine what we’ll see now. They know, one win to have a shot. One win and that completely changes the complexion of the series. It won’t be easy, as winning in Miami has proven a challenge. But the Thunder haven’t come close to playing their best game yet and all it takes is one.
If the Thunder have anything left, if they can just get up for this, they’ll have a chance. Remember when they blew that 15-point lead in Game 4 at home last year against the Mavs to go down 3-1? We all figured they’d be sunk both emotionally and physically. And yet they were right there, up seven with a few minutes remaining. So I would never expect them to take this easily.
Is this the day the dream dies? Or does it carry on at least a few more days? There’s a lot that depends on that but you can’t think of this thing as a 3-1 hole. You’ve got to take it as a one game series. It’s almost as if winner takes all tonight. LeBron has called this a Game 7 for the Heat because they know the challenge facing them if they lose. You’re going to have two teams are desperate as ever, one trying to finish, the other trying to stay alive.
If the Thunder can just put together 48 minutes once, play a complete game, hit free throws, take care of the ball, get the normal production, limit defensive lapses — they can do this. Just win once, give your fans one more chance to hear you names ring out through The Peake, one more chance to yell back “Way-oh!,” one more chance to put on beards, one more chance to chant “O-K-C!” Just give us that chance. Because if you do, you give yourselves one.
Tip at 8:00 CT. Go Survive.