Throughout the 2012 NBA Playoffs, the Oklahoma City Thunderhas made it tough for their opponents to win in Chesapeake Energy Arena. The combination of the noise of the owners of Oklahoma City Thunder tickets and the great team play, it is quite easy to point out as to why the this team holds a 9-0 home record prior to Game 2 of the Finals. The Miami Heat, though, did not want to go to their home floor down 2-0. Miami started out strong and held off a fourth quarter rally by the Thunder to even the series to one game apiece. If the Heat did not win this game, they would have blown another double digit lead which happened in Game 1 and in Game 2 last year.
Majority of the players of Oklahoma City are new in the NBA Finals except for the likes of Derek Fisher, Kendrick Perkins, and Nazr Mohammed. All the remaining players have not suffered from any kind of Finals sting, which was on hand in Game 2. The way the Thunder respond from the pain of losing home court advantage would show how far they can go in this championship series. Lose the next three games on the road and it would prove that they still don’t have the experience. Win a game or two on the road and they prove that they are the real deal despite being a relatively young group.
Oklahoma City squandering their home court advantage is something that might be needed by the NBA’s young darlings moving forward. This could serve as their motivation of playing even better in the upcoming games to help them seal the championship.
The Thunder has shown some inconsistencies, though, in their past three home games falling behind early with double-digit leads. This dates back to Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals versus San Antonio when they dug deep from an 18-point deficit. In Game 2, they were down early, 18-2, which basically put their chances away for a 2-0 lead. After falling behind in the first quarter, Oklahoma City failed to repeat their comeback efforts in Game 1.
After Game 2 Kevin Durant had this to say regarding the early deficit: “Oh, man. That was the game.”
Oklahoma City had three quarters to erase the early deficit but it didn’t help that they only had 14 assists in the game as a team, their free throw shooting was really bad, and Russell Westbrook hoisted up 26 shots to score 27 points. Even though James Harden was able to do his usual scoring (21 points) and Serge Ibaka was his usual defensive beast (5 blocks), the fact that they played catch-up the entire game blew their chances of a 2-0 lead.
With two days of rest before Game 3, Oklahoma City still has time to make some necessary adjustments to steal the home court of Miami. If they make it a point to not fall behind early, there is a great chance that they would be returning to OKC for a championship parade.
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