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How To Bet On Heat Thunder - Pivot Point Arrives In Finals, As Thunder Must Regroup

Posted by Craig Parsons on 6/18/2012 3:27:47 PM

Basketball aficionados are relatively confident that the Oklahoma City Thunder can bounce back and win Game 4 of the NBA Finals. If they don't, however, they're in huge trouble.

NBA Finals, Game 4: Oklahoma City Thunder @ Miami Heat – Tuesday, June 19
Sports betting line: N/A

Why Oklahoma City Will Win

When you do your homework and try to engage in betting online, especially in the NBA postseason, you will want to ask yourself, "What should normally be expected in this series from the Oklahoma City Thunder?" Could Sunday night's performance in Game 3 be seen as a "normal" performance from the Western Conference champions? Possibly. It could be true that the Thunder are feeling the pressure of the NBA Finals, whereas the Miami Heat – having been in this position last year – are better able to deal with the enormity of the occasion. However, it seems unlikely that the Thunder will continue to shrink in the spotlight. This team is too talented to lose three straight games in the playoffs; more specifically, it is too good to play such disjointed and uneven basketball.

Consider the things that the Thunder failed to do in Game 3: For one thing, Kevin Durant didn't score much in the fourth quarter, tallying only four points. That is not likely to continue in this series. Durant is too elite a player, too accurate as a shooter, to remain quiet at crunch time. Also, Oklahoma City hit just 15 of 24 foul shots, an atrocious percentage (62.5 percent) that's far below the team's free throw shooting percentage for the regular season and the playoffs. That's probably going to become an aberration, not a trend, in this series. Oklahoma City scored just 21 points in the final 16 minutes and 33 seconds of Game 3, consistent with a pace of just under 63 points for a regulation-length game. That's awful… and it's not representative of the way the Thunder have been playing during the postseason. If Oklahoma City plays a solid – not even spectacular – fourth quarter and hits at least 78 percent of its foul shots, it should win… not could win, but should win.

Why Miami Will Win

The first point to emphasize in this discussion of the NBA Finals is that Miami hit a scant percentage of jump shots outside the paint on Sunday in Game 3. The Heat hit just 4 of 25 shots outside the lane, a mere 16 percent conversion rate… and they won. If Miami can make 40 percent of shots outside the lane in Game 4 – not an impressive statistic unless those shots are regularly 18 or more feet from the basket – the Heat should be in great shape. They're working very hard at the defensive end of the floor; if they can hit mid-range jumpers, they're going to be very, very hard to beat on their home floor.

Who Will Win?

The Heat will shoot a little better, but Oklahoma City will shoot a lot better and, most instructively, get a better performance from Kevin Durant. The Thunder will also hit a much higher percentage of foul shots, enough to tie this series at 2-2.

Click here for more content on the latest odds and angles for the NBA playoffs.

NBA Playoff Betting Pick: Oklahoma City

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