The 2012 NBA Finals: Super Mario to The Rescue

Mario Chalmers deserved the hug and the game ball for coming up huge
in Game 4. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 12.
(Photo by Associated Press)

#ComeBack #TeamGame
There was no slow start for the Thunder in Game 4. They started strong with Westbrook hitting jumpers and  Collison getting 6 points early. They ended up with the lead in the first quarter for the first time in the finals. The biggest lead was 17 points but the Heat managed to get back in the game by going on a 16-0 run. The Heat defense woke up in the second quarter and Miami had the lead at the end of the third. Russell Westbrook was a scoring machine and Thunder offense relied on him while the Heat had more balance with James scoring 26 while Wade and Chalmers had 25 each and then Bosh chipped in 13 points and 9 rebounds. The Thunder ran so many isolation plays for Westbrook since he got to the basket with ease and he was making most of his jumpers. Still, it was not enough for the Thunder since they missed crucial shots at the end and had some mindless mistakes. Their inexperience showed and that cost them a chance to win Game 4. 

SuperMario #MrClutch
With LeBron James on the bench due to leg cramps, Super Mario unleashed his best performance in the playoffs and the finals. Mr. Clutch delivered the final 5 points for the Heat and they escaped Game 4 with a win. Chalmers scored 25 points on 9-15 shooting and he had a great 4th quarter where he scored 12 points coming from threes, floaters and daring layups. With Kevin Durant often guarding him, Super Mario was active and more aggressive with his drives to the basket. This was such a big game from Chalmers who had struggled in the finals as he came in scoring 17 combined points in the first 3 games. Extra credit to Heat rookie Norris Cole who had a productive 8 points in 7 minutes. His timely baskets allowed the Heat to get back in the game and his contribution probably ignited Chalmers' competitive spirit. Mario did not want to lose his minutes to Cole so Mr. Clutch stepped up real BIG.  

#cramps #backpain
Midway in the fourth quarter, LeBron slipped to the floor without any contact and he got up slowly. On the next trip, he made a bank shot but he limped after the basket. He collapsed to the floor and he was grimacing in pain. He had to be removed from the game because he was unable to move properly. At first, I thought he sprained his ankle or pulled a muscle. Either injury could have been a serious setback for the Heat. Luckily, it was just a leg cramp for LeBron and he should be ready for Game 5. James almost got a triple-double and he missed it by one rebound. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade hurt his lower back in the 2nd quarter when Serge Ibaka blocked his shot and then they collided. Wade hit the floor hard with his tailbone and he was on the floor and in pain. He was not removed from the game and he was able to continue. The Heat got lucky that nothing major bothered Wade and he still ended up playing 42 minutes. 

Russell Westbrook had a magnificent game with 43 points but his foul
at the end  prevented the Thunder from getting the chance to tie the game.
(Photo by Associated Press)
#Russell #AllBeardNoBrain
Westbrook played superb and he kept the Thunder in the game. He almost got them the win with his 43 points on 20-32 shooting. Russell was on fire and he was making difficult shots with ease and his jumper was on target last night. The Heat could not stop him and his foul after the jumpball was not the reason the Thunder lost. It was a stupid foul and that could be due to a misunderstanding among the Thunder players and their coach. In fact, Westbrook kept them in the game since James Harden was a no-show for the 2nd straight game. The Beard came up with 8 points on 2-10 shooting and he had 4 turnovers. Most of his shots were open looks and he simply did not make them. Things were so bad for Harden offensively that he missed a non-contested layup on a fast break. On defense, Harden was getting pounded by LeBron in the post or by Wade in the perimeter. The Thunder only had their Big 2 last night and it was not enough to upset the Heat who had contributions from everyone. 

#OneMoreWin #LetsGoHeat
The Heat is in good shape to win their second title in 6 years. No team has won in the finals after being down 3-1 and only 8 teams have won a series in the playoffs after being down 3-1. The history is on the Heat's side but nothing is guaranteed especially against the OKC Thunder who is very capable of coming back and winning the series. The Thunder won 4 straight against the Spurs and winning 3 straight versus the Heat is not an impossible task. The Heat is also capable of losing 3 straight games in the finals since that happened to them last year when Dallas beat them 4-2 after the Heat had a 2-1 advantage. The hardest game to finish is the closeout game and this will be the toughest of them all. The Heat cannot relax now and they need to be calm and poised to overcome all the punches that the Thunder will deliver in Game 5. A loss on Thursday brings back the series to OKC and that would give the Thunder confidence that they can still win the series. The Heat definitely dont want that. 

#Tweet of the Night
Chalmers has GOTS to go to the podium tonight. 

  • Westbrook's 43 points is his playoff career-high, same with Chalmers and his 25 points
  • Wade made 2-3 three-point shots, his first two of the finals
  • Heat finally made jumpers: 10-26 from downtown
  • Heat won the rebounding battle for the 3rd straight time, all resulting in wins
  • Heat is 8-0 after trailing in a series
  • Heat is 3-1 in closeout games
  • Thunder is 4-6 on the road

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