Share “NBA Finals: How the Miami Heat's victory...”

NBA Finals: How the Miami Heat's victory is instructive for the Oklahoma City Thunder

The Heat won the Finals because it did what its coach wanted. Miami turned up the defensive Heat. And that's very instructive for the Thunder, the Heat's victim in the 2012 Finals, when Miami did much the same thing to OKC.
by Berry Tramel Modified: June 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm •  Published: June 22, 2013
Advertisement

photo - Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) reacts after being fouled during the second half in Game 7 of the NBA basketball championships against the San Antonio Spurs, Thursday, June 20, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) ORG XMIT: AAA162
Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) reacts after being fouled during the second half in Game 7 of the NBA basketball championships against the San Antonio Spurs, Thursday, June 20, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) ORG XMIT: AAA162

In Game 6, the Spurs scored nine points the first 9 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter. A 13-point deficit became a three-point Miami lead. Duncan, who had 30 points through three quarters, didn't score the final 21 1/2 minutes of the game. During a six-minute stretch, the Spurs scored just two points.

In Game 7, the Spurs managed just 17 fourth-quarter points. They had just six points the first seven minutes of the quarter. No points in the final two minutes.

That's how championships are won. The Birdman played big-time in the post. Chris Bosh, who didn't even score in Game 7, also played tough in the interior. Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier and Dwyane Wade took turns hounding the Spurs. And of course, LeBron is a defensive freak, able to stop the penetration of Parker, who in the final two games made just nine of 35 shots.

The Thunder doesn't have a LeBron, not on defense at least, but it does have the same framework. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to provide offense. Defensive-minded starters in Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. Nick Collison off the bench to bang in the paint. The Thunder could use some perimeter defensive punch off the bench, and maybe it already has that in DeAndre Liggins, who deserves more minutes, as far as I'm concerned.

Sure, the Thunder has to find more offense, particularly if Kevin Martin is gone as it seems. But come playoff time, when the game slows and points are at a premium, the Thunder needs to be able to throw a two-minute shutout here, a three-minute shutout there.

OKC's defense already is tough. The NBA's fourth-best this regular season in points per possession, the most reliable stat. But it must be even better.

That's what Spoelstra's message was to his own team going into the final two fourth quarters of the season. And the Heat heard him.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    This Incredible Dog Has A New Lease On Life Thanks To 3D Printing
  2. 2
    Another North Korea Casualty: Steve Carell Movie
  3. 3
    School Takes Blind Boy's Cane, Gives Foam Noodle
  4. 4
    Seth Rogen, James Franco discuss making 'The Interview'
  5. 5
    Oh God, Mama Woodhouse is now on Twitter!
+ show more