The Oklahoma City Thunder are a young team. They may still need to learn how to win close games against elite teams in difficult environments. They could learn something by watching to see how their opponent operates.
The Miami Heat prevailed over the Thunder in Game 4 on Tuesday night, 104-98, to push LeBron James one win closer to earning his first-ever NBA championship ring.
While James is usually the one earning the lion's share of the blame for things falling apart down the stretch, however, it was a mental error by Russell Westbrook that could most easily be described as a "choke" after this one.
Westbrook fouled Mario Chalmers after the Heat collected a jump ball with under a minute to go, allowing Chalmers to sink the game-clinching free throws. Instead of forcing the Heat into a tough shot to beat the shot clock, Westbrook bailed Chalmers out and in doing so let an otherwise otherworldly performance go to waste.
The Thunder point guard's final stat line is obscene — 43 points, seven rebounds, five assists — but it's the one brain cramp that trumped LeBron's leg cramp and opened the door to a Heat W.
Oklahoma City has room to grow, but not time to do so. They can't afford another game where Westbrook forgets about the shot clock or Kevin Durant disappears for stretches or James Harden turns in another stinker.
They've got just 48 minutes standing between them and the Heat's moment in the sun. They better grow up fast.
Fernando Rodney wants you to know he's not hiding anything.
"Hey Mario Motherf—— Chalmers!"
–Dwyane Wade, heading into the locker room to celebrate his teammate's 25-point effort
Only if Spike Lee helps him out.
Lebron James should get his own Broadway show where he just limps around and winces.
— Krister Johnson (@KristerJohnson) June 20, 2012
BRB, just going for a run with my duck.