Sports: Miami beats Westbrook in Game 4
The surging Miami Heat overcame Russell Westbrook’s 43-point explosion in Game 4 of the 2012 National Basketball Association Finals yesterday by humbling Oklahoma City, 104-98, over at the American Airlines Arena in Florida to take an insurmountable 3-1 championship series lead.
Westbrook, the 6-3 starting guard out of the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) who was the 4th overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics (now Oklahoma City) during the 2008 NBA Draft, made 20 of his 32 attempts from the field while going perfect (3-of-3) from the foul line in 45 minutes.
However, aside from teammate Kevin Durant’s 28 markers in the game, no other Thunder player scored in double figures for Coach Scott Brooks thereby leaving a scoring slack on the part of Oklahoma City’s reserves which signaled the Thunder’s demise in Game 4.
On the contrary, mentor Erik Spoelstra’s charges got 26 points from LeBron James while Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers chipped in 25 markers each with Chris Bosh adding 13 as the Heat negated Westbrook’s point production as well as the Thunder’s 33-19 advantage at the end of the opening canto.
Oklahoma City still led by three points, 49-46, at the turn but the Heat outscored the visiting Thunder in the third period, 33-26, before coasting to win No. 3 in the best-of-seven series for the Larry O’Brien Trophy in taking the payoff quarter, 25-23.
It was an all-Westbrook show the entire Game 4 with the 23-year old sentinel scoring 43 points while collecting seven caroms, five dish offs and one steal on top of three fouls and the same number of turnovers. Durant added 28 points in 46 minutes but he was limited to only two rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Thunder players like James Harden (8 points), Nick Collison (6), Thabo Sefolosha (5), Kendrick Perkins (4) and Serge Ibaka (4) were limited in offense for Oklahoma City as Westbrook single handedly tried but failed to carry his team to a Game 4 upset of the Heat.
For your Sideline Spectator, Oklahoma City will have to regroup in tomorrow’s Game 5 versus Miami in order to force a Game 6 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena or a possible Game 7 at home or else, as they say, the rest will be history!
Losing Game 2 at their bailiwick was probably the worst thing that happened to the Thunder in this series though they still have one more try in Game 5 to stay alive and regain homecourt edge over the title-hungry Heat. Oklahoma City is definitely in a must-win situation in Friday’s ballgame amid the biased hometown crowd in Miami.
For the Eastern Conference titlists, a victory in Game 5 will catapult Miami to a second NBA diadem after winning the 2006 crown over Dallas. The Heat lost last season’s finale incidentally to the same Mavericks quintet and Miami is raring for another NBA title in this lockout shortened season in order to erase the stigma of last year’s debacle.
I am expecting a huge comeback from the young yet inexperienced Thunder in Friday’s all-important Game 5 and if Oklahoma City beats Miami in Florida tomorrow, there’s a big possibility that Durant and company could tie the series with another triumph in Game 6 and force a winner-take-all meeting next week.
But that’s easier said than done as not even a single NBA team (0-30) in the league’s history has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the ‘last dance’ to win the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy. And you can make it 31 in adding the Thunder!*
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