Game 2 of the NBA Finals takes place on Thursday night as the Miami Heat remain in Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game is scheduled for a 9:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on ABC. Currently the odds have Oklahoma City favored by 5.5 points with the total sitting at 196 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: After pulling away for a comfortable 11-point victory in Game 1, the Thunder try to go up 2-0 in the NBA Finals when they host the Heat again on Thursday night. Game 1 was a tale of two halves on Tuesday as Miami led 54-47 at halftime, but was outscored by 18 points in the final two quarters and lost 105-94. Although James led his Miami team with 30 points in Game 1, his highest total in any of his 11 career NBA Finals games, he did make just one basket during the first 8:15 of the fourth quarter when the Thunder pulled away. But James wasn’t the problem for the Heat, who essentially played six players (plus Mike Miller for 10 minutes and Joel Anthony for two). They faltered down the stretch against the younger, fresher Oklahoma City club, and none of the other Heat stars stepped up. SG Dwyane Wade finished with 19 points, eight assists and four rebounds, but made just 7-of-19 shots. Heading into the game, Wade had been averaging 25.2 PPG (49% FG) with 7.6 RPG and 4.6 APG in his previous five road contests. PF Chris Bosh played 33 minutes, but scored just 10 points with five rebounds (all defensive). SF Shane Battier had a great shooting night (6-for-9 FG, 4-for-6 threes), but scored only four of his 17 points in the second half. Oklahoma City dominated both points in the paint (56-40) and fast-break points (24-4), which helped fuel a comeback from a deficit that was as large as 13 points in the second quarter. Thunder star SF Kevin Durant netted 17 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, as he and teammate PG Russell Westbrook combined to outscore the entire Miami team in the second half, 41-40. Westbrook had a brilliant overall performance, finishing with 27 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and just two turnovers. That was quite an improvement from his previous four meetings with Miami when he shot 31% FG with 23 assists and 16 turnovers. The one Oklahoma City player who has plenty of room to improve on Thursday is SG James Harden, who finished with just five points, zero rebounds and three assists in a foul-plagued 22 minutes of action. This was a far cry from his playoff averages of 17.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 3.3 APG. His teammates did pick him up as starting PF Serge Ibaka had 10 points and six rebounds, while back-up PF Nick Collison scored eight points (4-of-5 FG) with 10 rebounds in just 21 minutes. Starting SG Thabo Sefolosha did a nice job defending James late in the game and also contributed offensively with nine points. The Thunder are now 11-2-1 ATS in their past 14 games, while the Heat fell to 2-5 ATS in their past seven contests. However, both teams have similar records this season with just one off-day in between games -- Miami is 33-16 (23-26 ATS), while Oklahoma City is 34-13 (25-21-1 ATS). The Heat have been decent following an SU loss at 16-10 (13-12-1 ATS), but the Thunder are not prone to letdowns, going 41-18 (30-28-1 ATS) after an SU victory this season.
Free Pick: Ok let's take a shot with the host Thunder tonight. In the first half of game 1, the Thunder came out a bit flat, as they were a bit in awe of being in the Finals, plus they were rusty after their 6 day layoff. in the second half they got it going and showed just what they are made of, especially on this floor. THe thunder have now won all 9 home games in the playoffs and they have outscored their opponents by 10.7 ppg in the process, while Miami comes in just 4-5 SU & ATS on the road in the playoffs and they are just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall, while the Thunder are 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 games. Other than their bad three-point shooting in Game 1 (5-for-17), the Thunder had the upper hand in most statistical categories, most notably FG Pct. (52% to 46%) and rebounding (43-35). I expect both the latter numbers to continue in this one, plus I don't expect the Thunder to shoot as poorly from long range, while the Heat won't hit 42% of their shots from downtown. The Thunder will come out with a bit more fire in this one and in nthe end should have another DD home win.
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NBA Free Picks: Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder - Game 2What NBA bettors need to know about Heat at Thunder Game 2 - with Pregame.com's Scott Spreitzer and host Marco D'Angelo.