The Dallas Mavericks came out of the tunnel in game 3 and punched the Thunder kids in mouth. In South Beach, the Big 3 were too much to handle for Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.
From the opening tip-off, the Dallas Mavericks dominated the Thunder both defensively and offensively. To take an early lead would prove to be insurmountable for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook had a bounce back game after being benched in the fourth quarter of game 2, but the problems with Westbrook at the point guard position were evident again in game 3.
Even though the Thunder shot just 1-17 from beyond the arc, they were able to make a spirited comeback to pull the game in reach after being down by as many as 20 points. After a relatively quiet game, Dirk Nowitzki took over down the stretch to seal the 93-87 victory and take a 2-1 series lead.
Poor execution, turnovers and very little ball movement proved to be the demise of Thunder in the fourth quarter. The more you watch Russell Westbrook play, the more you realize that he’s anything but a point guard. Westbrook is averaging 5 turnovers compared to just 3.7 assists in this series which is hardly an efficient ratio. He wants to score and he wants to put up a lot of shots, no one can deny that. Why not bring Westbrook off the bench so he can light it up? Instead, the Thunder find themselves in a situation where the best player on the floor and the NBA scoring leader can’t get touches in the fourth quarter crunch-time because their “PG” continuously is going 1 vs 5. It might cost them the series.
In South Beach, it was the same old story as game 2, except with different characters. Instead of LeBron James or Wade carrying the scoring load for Miami, it was Chris Bosh who came out with 34 point statement game that reminded everyone why he is a member of the Big 3.
Even though Carlos Boozer had his best game of the series with 26 points and 17 rebounds, Chicago just didn’t have enough fire power to keep up with the Heat. The Big 3 combined for 73 points in game 3 while Chicago managed to score just 85 points as a team. The Heat took the game relatively easily 96-85.
The defense of Miami proved to be too much for the anemic Bull’s offense and the Magic Johnson-like play of LeBron James picked the Bulls apart. The injection of Haslem into Heat lineup has tilted the series in the Heat’s favour as Haslem brings scoring, rebounding, defense and championship mettle to the Heat’s front court.
It is becoming apparent that Derrick Rose needs to become the greatest player on the planet for the Bulls to have a chance against the Heat and the Big 3, and even then, it probably won’t be enough.
It will be interesting to see how the Thunder responds tonight in a game that must be considered as a must-win. They have been resilient all year, but tonight we shall see what this team is truly made of and just how much more growing up they have left to do.