The Heat will be searching for another gear after giving up a healthy lead on Tuesday night as OKC surged to a 105-94 victory. And to do that, they’ll need to give LeBron James some extra support.
The league MVP had 30 points and 9 rebounds but there were too many spells where he was effectively flying solo. Dwyane Wade added 19 but was far from a major threat. More of the same and their team is going to struggle to bounce straight back.
History says that the winner of the opening gambit goes on to claim the championship over 70 percent of the time. Those title odds – currently at 3.40 - will grow even further if the Heat drop into a 2-0 deficit with another defeat. To level the series, the Heat are an outrageous 3.10 with their rivals at 1.38.
Top of the priority list for coach Erik Spoelstra is finding a way to stop Kevin Durant who hit 36 points with the greatest of ease. Even if they manage that, Russell Westbrook and James Harden look well capable of filling the necessary void. That’s why it’s worth going over OKC’s points forecast of 101.0 points at 1.91.
There’s some intriguing match-ups to watch out for. Serge Ibaka is 2.70 to have more rebounds than James. That’s worth a punt. The Spanish international’s also had several big scoring games this post-season. He’s 3.75 to out-score Chris Bosh, who might return to the starting line-up.
The Thunder start as favourites by 5.5 points at 1.91 and with a raucous support home at Chesapeake Arena, it’s tough see them allowing Miami to come that close.
Bet of the Day: Take OKC to go over 101 points in Game 2 at 1.91.