The 4th Quarter Kids
What is it with the Thunder playing good in the final quarter? Do they drink a special Gatorade after the third quarter? Do they drink Bugs Bunny’s “secret stuff”? Is it just luck?
The fourth quarter performances, in both game one and game two, have been legendary. We have all witnessed them. Even LeBron James is witnessing them. Isn’t that ironic?
In game one, Kevin Durant, specifically, carried his Thunder in the fourth quarter and completed a fantastic bounce back from the first three quarters. He finished with 17 points in the final frame, but it was his demeanor that helped them come back and beat the Heat.
Game two saw a similar storyline emerging. There was another big lead to cut down. I sat there thinking, wow, the Heat could blow it again.
The Heat held on this time, but not before another amazing fourth quarter show by the Thunder. And once again, it was Durant who led the charge—with five fouls.
This is good and bad for the Thunder going forward. It shows that they don’t like to give up and they show a certain “clutch gene” that Skip Bayless thinks Lebron lacks. But living that close to the edge will end up coming back to get you. We saw a glimpse of that in game two, as the Thunder lost their first home playoff game this post season. They need to show that same fire throughout the whole game, not just in the final 12 minutes.
As a fan, I want the Thunder to keep on showing up in the fourth quarter, like they have been doing, but at the end of the day, it’s not going to get it done.
Not the same supporting cast from game one
The Thunder dropped to a Heat low in game two.
Oklahoma City is supposed to be the deeper team, with a better bench and a guy who has people living in his beard. But they didn’t prove that.
Ok, James Harden and his beard played a lot better in game two (21 points, 7/11 shooting) but the rest of the supporting cast, well, didn’t show up. There were only 16 points scored outside of OKC’s Big 3 (who scored 80 combined points). In game one, the Thunder players outside of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden scored 32 points.
What helped the Thunder complete the come back and beat the Heat in game one was the energy and production the bench provided, even more than the points they delivered.
Nick Collison, in particular, came up big. He only had 8 points but his spark was enough to help slam home a few big dunks, and help the Thunder get the W in the first game.
The “No Call”
Naturally, LeBron James would have his best Finals performance of his career and hit some clutch shots in the fourth quarter and ESPN’s Skip Bayless would still find a way to drill him.
With 12 seconds left in the game, the Thunder had one last chance to try and tie the ball game up at 98. Kevin Durant got the call to be OKC’s hero. James was called by the Heat faithful to guard him.
Durant ended up getting the ball on the left baseline, with James guarding him, and took one dribble before taking a fade-away, one-footed jumper. His shot hit the front of the rim and missed the mark.
But was he fouled? That’s the question.
Before the shot, James showed a lot of contact with his left arm. Then during the shot, he also showed a lot of contact, with his left arm tucked in.
This has caused a lot of controversy today. Did the “no call” cost the Thunder the game?
Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) thought so, as he tweeted: “LeBron caught offguard on inbounds, had to foul Durant w/ :09 left – no call! Could’ve been 98-all w/ FTs! Makeup no-call for uncalled 6th?”
Then he tweeted again: “If LeBron’s foul on KD had been called and he had made the 98-all FTs, doubt Miami could have won in that Thunderdome.”
And again: “I’m sorry, OKC got ROBBED. Ref Tom Washington caught out of position, didn’t see LeBron foul KD twice. He makes those FTs. Tie game at :09.”
This is only one opinion but Twitter was buzzing about the “no call” all night. They were mostly negative comments though
I think in that situation, James is the biggest superstar in the game, bigger than Durant. He is simply going to get the call. It’s sad, because it probably was a foul, but I don’t think it cost the Thunder the game. It was a great come back but they just didn’t have enough juice at the end.
–By James Nosek