OKLAHOMA CITY (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat will be pilgrims in an unholy land when they enter the arena in Oklahoma City Tuesday night and will also find themselves in the unusual position of being the underdogs in the NBA Finals.
Overall, Las Vegas is putting the Heat’s chances of winning at around 40 percent, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde. For Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Bodog.net has the Thunder as an early 5 point favorite over the Heat.
Bodog is expecting the game to be high scoring with an over/under of 195 total points in the game.
Since the Big Three joined forces in Miami, the Heat has almost always been the favorite of any series they’ve played. But the Heat has never faced an opponent with the athletic and scoring ability the Thunder have across their roster.
The Thunder are led by the two-headed monster of point guard Russell Westbrook and small forward Kevin Durant. Westbrook and Durant can score in bunches and in many ways are a younger version of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Westbrook averages 21.7 points, 5.6 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game thus far in the playoffs. Durant is a scoring machine who is averaging 27.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in the 2012 playoffs.
The Heat should be able to counter-balance the scoring load that Westbrook and Durant put out with LeBron and Wade who are averaging 30.8 and 22.8 points respectively in the 2012 NBA playoffs.
Perhaps the greatest equalizer the Thunder has to the strength of the Big Three is James Harden. He has spent the better part of the playoffs hitting crucial three-point shots that have stuck daggers into the hearts of opponents.
Harden stands 6’5” and is technically listed as a guard. He could be played by either Dwyane Wade or Shane Battier, depending on Battier’s ability to stay in front of Harden. But the Heat knows they can’t leave him open or Harden will make them pay.
Las Vegas, and most of the rest of the country, have hitched their proverbial wagons to the Thunder. But, the Heat won’t go down without a serious fight and if LeBron James can continue producing at the level he has in the playoffs; a championship may be on its way to Miami.