Game 5 of the NBA Finals takes place on Thusday night in South Beach as the take Miami Heat look to win the NBA Championship over 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 Miami favored by 3 points with the total sitting at 193.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: After two straight comeback wins from double-digit deficits, the Heat can claim the NBA Championship with a fourth straight victory over Oklahoma City tonight. Miami was able to erase a 10-point, third-quarter deficit in Game 3 to win 91-85, and Tuesday’s Game 4 was even more frustrating for the Thunder, who squandered away a 17-point lead in the first quarter and lost 104-98. Now Oklahoma City is faced with trying to become the first team in NBA history to win the title after trailing 3-1 in a Finals series. Since the league adopted the 2-3-2 format in 1985, no NBA team trailing 3-1 in a series has even forced a Game 7. However, very few teams have lost three straight in such close fashion as the Thunder who have fallen by four, six and six points. Durant has had a monster offensive series with 30.3 PPG on 55% FG (37% threes) and 82% FT (23-for-28), but he has just 4.8 RPG, eight assists and 12 turnovers. In the first three series of these playoffs, Durant tallied 7.9 RPG, 4.2 APG and 2.9 TOPG. Westbrook has come up big in all facets in the NBA Finals with 29.0 PPG (48% FG), 7.0 RPG, 6.8 APG and just 2.3 TOPG. The one negative is his poor long-range shooting, as he’s just 3-for-17 on threes. Speaking of poor shooting, SG James Harden can’t find the ocean in Miami, making just 4-of-20 shots, including 1-of-9 threes in Games 3-4. The Thunder are still looking for someone else to help out with the scoring load, as no other player eclipsed six points in Tuesday’s loss. Despite suffering through painful leg cramps down the stretch and having to sit for the conclusion of Game 4, LeBron James finished one rebound shy of a triple-double (26 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds). He will start and try to build on his gaudy numbers in the NBA Finals: 29.3 PPG (47% FG), 10.0 RPG and 6.0 APG. Wade hasn’t shot the ball particularly well in the Finals (41% FG), but he’s still posted impressive numbers of 23.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 5.8 APG. He has scored at least 22 points in each of his past nine home games in these playoffs. The good news for Miami fans is that PF Chris Bosh certainly has room for improvement on the offensive end, as he’s tallied a mere 12.3 PPG on 39.6% FG in the Finals, a big drop-off from his regular season numbers of 18.0 PPG on 48.7% FG. But Bosh has done a great job staying out of foul trouble (eight fouls total) and has attacked the boards, averaging 10.0 RPG. SF Shane Battier is coming off his worst game of the Finals (four points on 1-of-4 FG), but he had to cool down sometime after making 14-of-19 shots (74%) including 11-of-15 threes (73%) in Games 1-3. With Tuesday’s home win, the Heat are now 38-7 SU (84%) at AmericanAirlines Arena with a 26-18-1 ATS mark (59%). In the 2012 playoffs, Miami is 10-2 SU (9-3 ATS) at home, scoring 99.1 PPG and giving up only 88.1 PPG. Even with the two straight road losses, the Thunder are still the NBA’s third-best road team at 25-17 SU (60%) and are a solid 23-18-1 ATS (56%), including 5-3-1 ATS in playoff road tilts.
Free Pick: As Much as I would like to take the Heat in this one to wrap it all up, I will go with the Over. I still feel the heat would like to wrap it up at home, but the Only shot that the Thunder has is to speed the game up, like they did in quarter 1 of game 4. They had a 17 point lead and 52 total points were scored in that quarter. The Heat have allowed just 88.1 ppg at home in the playoffs, but they did allow 98 points in the last game to the Thunder, so Oklahoma City can score on them. Plus if the Thunder is down late you can bet they will start fouling a bit earlier to pro long the game. Overall the Thunder has averaged 96 ppg in the series and 100 ppg on the road this year. Miami has been a good scoring team all year long and at home they have averaged 100 ppg, including 99.1 ppg in home playoff games. Oklahoma city is not a great defensive team on the road as they have allowed 98 ppg away from home. This should be a close game with an uptempo pace to it. OKC has no tomorrow if they lose so you can expect them to come out running and if they are down late, a lot of fouling as well. I expect 200+ in this one.
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NBA Free Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat Game 5What NBA bettors need to know about Thunders at Heat Game 5 (6/21/12) - with Pregame.com's Bryan Leonard and Vegas Runner.