Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder (-5.5, 196)
THE STORY: The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder gave fans exactly what they were expecting in the opener of the NBA Finals: an action-packed, end-to-end game featuring sensational plays at both ends. Kevin Durant emerged as the hero in Game 1 and will look to lead the Thunder to victory in the second game of the best-of-seven Thursday night. Durant poured in 17 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder rallied from 13 points down to secure the victory.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ABC, TSN
ABOUT THE HEAT: LeBron James didn't have the kind of game that lifted Miami to victories over Boston in Games 6 and 7 of the East finals, but he was still solid in defeat. James reached the 30-point plateau in a Finals contest for the first time in his career, but it wasn't enough as he fell to 2-9 all-time in championship games. The Heat were badly outscored in transition and had no answer for Durant, who knocked down one shot after another in the pivotal final frame. James credited Oklahoma City with playing near-perfect basketball over the final 12 minutes. "They didn't make many mistakes in the fourth quarter," he said.
ABOUT THE THUNDER: Oklahoma City looked nervous in the early going, but didn't take long to shake off the jitters. Durant became the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to surpass the 35-point plateau in a Finals game, knocking down four 3-pointers and adding eight rebounds. He had plenty of help - particularly from point guard Russell Westbrook, who scored 27 points and added 11 assists and eight rebounds. The two of them outscored the Heat 41-40 in the second half. Thabo Sefolosha excelled on the defensive end, limiting James to seven points on 29 percent shooting when he was guarding him.
1. Westbrook became the first player to record 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a Finals game since Charles Barkley accomplished the feat for the Phoenix Suns in 1993.
2. Going into this season, the team that wins the opening game of the Finals has gone on to claim the NBA championship 72 percent of the time.
3. Oklahoma City is 9-0 at home in the postseason.
Heat are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Heat are 0-7-1 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog.
Thunder are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite.
Thunder are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games.
Over is 6-1 in Heat last 7 overall.
Over is 11-2 in Thunder last 13 games as a favorite.
PREDICTION: Thunder 102, Heat 98.