The Oklahoma City Thunder have outplayed the Miami HEAT through 3 games but the gap is shrinking. Will the HEAT break through in Game 4?
HEAT & Thunder Production in 2012 Finals
The tables below provide a quick summary of the estimated wins produced in the first 3 games of the NBA Finals.
Since an average team's winning percentage is 0.500, an average player produces 0.100 estimated wins per 48 minutes (est.WP48). A star player produces 0.200 est.WP48 and great players produce 0.300 est.WP48. See the HEAT Produced Page for more information on Estimated Wins Produced.
The King vs. The Spider
After a bad Game 1, LeBron James reasserted himself as the most productive player in the series and Kevin Durant is fading. As the Durantula goes, so do the Thunder.
After outscoring the HEAT by 11 in Game 1, the point differential in the Finals is down to 1 point. It seems like Durant's rebounding, ball-handling and defense have deteriorated as he focused on being a more aggressive scorer early in Games 2 and 3 to counteract the HEAT's fast starts.
Here's a summary of Durant's deteriorating game:
- Game 1: Durant took 7 shots in the 1st half. He had 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers and committed 2 fouls helping OKC hold LeBron's shooting efficiency below 50% and forced him into 4 turnovers. Durant produced 0.328 est.WP48.
- Game 2: Durant took 9 shots in the 1st half. He had 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers and committed 5 fouls helping OKC hold LeBron's shooting efficiency below 50% but he only made 2 turnovers. Durant produced 0.102 est.WP48.
- Game 3: Durant took 10 shots in the 1st half. He had 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 5 turnovers and committed 5 fouls while helping OKC hold LeBron's shooting efficiency to 50% and forced him into 4 turnovers. Durant produced 0.067 est.WP48.
Durant Can't Shoot His Way to a Title
With Dwyane Wade struggling in The Finals, and Russell Westbrook dominating the point guard position, the series has come down to LeBron vs. Durant. The difference between the two is that LeBron can increase his scoring production while maintaining or increasing the production from the other parts of his game and Durant can't. The Thunder really don't have any other option for beating the HEAT.
Durant identifies himself as a shooter and a scorer first, like most great players from the D.C. area. He's scoring 36 points per 48 minutes in the Finals with 65% shooting efficiency. That's great, but it's not enough against a 3-time MVP who can do it all. LeBron identifies himself as an all-around, two-way player. That's the difference between them and right now it's the difference in the last two games of the series.
The question is whether or not this is just a case of Durant's game being too young or fatally flawed. Only time will tell.
Game 4 tips off tonight at 9 PM ET. The spreadsheet below lists the wins produced estimated from the box score for Game 3.
Thunder Game 3 Summary
- Most Productive Player: Kendrick Perkins with 0.2 est. wins produced and 0.320 est.WP48. Blame Spo's small lineups.
- 2nd Most Productive Player: Russell Westbrook with 0.1 est. wins produced and 0.126 est.WP48. HEAT haven't been able to consistently keep him from getting to the elbow or cleaning the glass.
- Least Productive Player: Nick Collison with -0.1 est. wins produced and -0.305 est.WP48. Foul trouble limited his production.
HEAT Game 3 Summary
- Most Productive Player: LeBron with 0.2 est. wins produced and 0.273 est.WP48. The MVP finally looked like himself in The Finals.
- 2nd Most Productive Player: Shaved Monkey Nuts aka Shane Battier with 0.2 est. wins produced and 0.248 est.WP48. He made 2 wide open shots and 3 free throws. Easy money if you can find it. He's somehow found a way to struggle with it for most of the season.
- Least Productive Player: Norris Cole with -0.1 est. wins produced and -0.708 est.WP48. The glass half full view is that he only played 6 minutes.