Thunder at Heat Game 5: What bettors need to know
Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat (-3, 193.5)THE STORY:
Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has had to deal with critics, fan backlash and his own impossibly high standards throughout his career. Tuesday night, he overcame a brand new challenge as leg cramps left him in severe pain in the waning moments of a 102-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. James is expected to be in the lineup Thursday as he aims for his first career NBA title when the Heat entertain the Thunder in Game 5.TV:
9 p.m. ET, ABC, TSNABOUT THE THUNDER:
A 43-point performance by Russell Westbrook still wasn't enough to lift the Thunder to victory, leaving them needing three straight wins to secure their first NBA championship. No team in league history has ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit to prevail, but superstar Kevin Durant says his team won't quit until the Heat clinch the title. "We're going to keep fighting," he said. "Frustrating to lose like that. It was just frustrating. But we're going to keep fighting, man. That's how we've been since I got here. We're going to keep fighting and just take it a possession and a game at a time."ABOUT THE HEAT:
Miami fans were spooked when guard Dwyane Wade got up favoring his back after hitting the court hard earlier in the night. He was fine, but James was not after falling during a drive to the basket and limping around until he was finally subbed out. James suffered cramping in both legs that limited his effectiveness, but he still knocked down a pivotal 3-pointer and doesn't expect to be hobbled in the Heat's first crack at a series win over Oklahoma City. "You had to play with an intensity that you had nothing left," Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said. "He didn't. He was playing at an incredible pace."TRENDS:
- Heat are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 home games.
- Over is 7-2-1 in Heat's last 10 overall.
- Thunder are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings in Miami.BUZZER BEATERS:
1. Westbrook joined Rick Barry as the only players 23 or younger to score at least 43 points in a Finals game. Barry reached the mark three times.
2. James has scored at least 15 points in the paint in all four games of the Finals. He didn't reach that total in any of the six Finals games last year against Dallas.
3. Thunder G James Harden has a bruised left hand but is expected to remain in the lineup for Game 5. Harden is shooting just 35 percent in the Finals.