[1) It is Tuesday, June 19. Hope y'all had a Happy Father's Day, fellow padres! 2) Click on Random Evidence for my Sunday notes column that led this week with the NBA Finals. (Warning: People from Oklahoma might want to skip the first part). 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Click on Heat's Big 3 (Players And Home Games) Have Thunder In Trouble for my column off last night's Game 3 win. Click The Unexpected Late Turn In Shane Battier's Journey for my earlier column. And check out our Father's Day video starring Dwyane Wade at the end of this blogpost...
NBA FINALS G3: HEAT 91, THUNDER 85: MIAMI SEIZES COMMAND OF SERIES: Miami's Big 3 scored the game's final 15 points for the Heat in a victory that puts Miami in charge, with a 2-1 series lead and then next two games back here at home. LeBron James' 29 points and 14 rebounds, Dwyane Wade's 25 points and Chris Bosh's 10 points and 11 rebounds led the Heat. So did aggressiveness reflected in Miami's 46 points in the paint and 35 free-throw attempts. The Heat shot only 37.8 percent from the field yet had the resourcefulnes to prevail. It was a victory more ugly than artful, but a beautiful thing for Heat fans. Original post: I'm no stat-nerd by nature but find it worth relaying that 85.3 percent of all NBA Finals that were tied 1-1 have seen the winner of Game 3 go on to be champion. And doesn't tonight feel about that important? If Miami takes care of home business for a 2-1 series lead the franchise's second NBA title trophy would begin to loom into realistic view. But an upset home loss would swing everything back to OKC's favor. Pictured left: LeBron James and Kevin Durant, both looking for a championship. Their duel has lived up to billing thus far and could turn epic, with Durant averaging 34 points and James 31 through two games. Now LeBron returns to the one arena that loves him: Miami's. Thunder crowds make their arena supposedly the loudest in the league. Heat fans have never enjoyed that reputation but can stake their claim beginning tonight. In Game 7 vs. Boston here in the Eastern finals every seat was filled by tip-off, a first, and the ambience was sonic, downright Thunder-ous. Time to kick it up a notch, Miami.
Share your thoughts here on the Finals and Game 3 before, during and especially after tonight's game.
THREE KEYS FOR HEAT IN GAME 3: 1) Withstand OKC's energy early. You'd think the visitors might be the ones to be concerned about Miami's energy out the gate given the venue and crowd, but -- after the Heat led by 11 in the first quarter of Game 1 and then burst to that 18-2 lead in Game 2 -- the Thunder's emphasis tonight will be an attacking, fast start. 2) Tell Shane Battier to please not wake up from his dream. Mr. 9-for-13 On 3s has provided the outside shooting that has really opened the floor for the other guys and been quietly instrumental in the Finals so far. 3) Continue to pound the paint. LeBron James especially and also Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh must continue to strive for points in Dunkville and Layupland. Miami's aggression inside was the big difference in the Game 2 win. When James turns brutish, is taking double-digit free throws and has the postgame bruises to show for it, good things usually happen for Miami. Hidden Bonus Key Just For You: Seize the mystical power of Game 3: In NBA history there have been 34 Finals that started 1-1, and 29 of them (85.3 percent) have been won by the team that took Game 3 for a 2-1 series lead. (Granted one of the exceptions was Miami last year ... but still!)
FATHER'S DAY GREETING FROM ME TO YOU: Dwyane Wade just spent months writing a soul-searching book about the nourishing powers of fatherhood. I just spent about five minutes creating a short video "starring" Wade. Click here.
Click back for our updated postgame commentary and analysis. Some day this blog will get back to stuff other than the Heat. I promise...