by Kevin McCormack
Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on their jerseys.
Here’s how it looks on the morning of Tuesday, May 10.
Start planning the parade:
Oklahoma City Thunder
It’s been obvious since Game 1 that the Grizzlies were a bad matchup for the Thunder. The inside power of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol has given the Thunder fits while OKC’s franchise player, Kevin Durant, has been good — but not great.
That all changed Monday night in the epic Game 4 that saw OKC’s two best players (Durant and Russell Westbrook) combine for 70 points (!) to tie the series and grab the momentum as the action shifts back to Oklahoma City for Game 5.
Charles Barkley made a good observation on Inside the NBA about the psychological implications of losing a triple-overtime game with the next game on the road. That’s what the Grizzlies face and if OKC can take the swing game on Wednesday at home, they could be one win away from the West Finals.
Give it up already:
Oof. That one hurt. With the ball in Paul Pierce’s hands and a shot to win the game and tie the series, the Celtics got a terrible look at the basket at the end of regulation and then got run off the floor in overtime for a crushing Game 4 loss. Now trailing 3-1 with the series back in South Beach, the end is nigh for the Celtics, no?
What has to sting even more as the Celtics try (somehow) to get back in the series is that Miami has been the better defensive team all series long. As our own John Schuhmann points out today:
The Heat have the best one-two punch in the league, with a third wheel who redeemed himself quite a bit on Monday. But they can close out this series on Wednesday because they did to the Celtics in Game 4 what the Celtics have done to every other team over the last four years. They shut them down.
With LeBron one win away from getting his Decision-induced revenge on the Celtics, it looks as though Boston is just 48 minutes from a tee-time at Brookline Country Club.