There’s a couple of ways to look at this situation and think that Oklahoma City can take care of business in game one and get this Finals match in their favor. First, I would look at home court advantage. There are people who say that the arena gets so loud, you need ear plugs in there. That will certainly be an advantage for the Thunder as they’ll have the full support of those rabid fans. The city and state of Oklahoma really takes this team as their own with it being the only professional team, so tonight will be a lively atmosphere.
Second, Kevin Durant showed in game six how badly he wanted to win. He played that entire game and scored 34 points in the win. But there was the physical nature that you could see in his body language that will to win. The way he carries himself on the court. That’s a huge advantage for Oklahoma City and he might have to play a few complete games this series to make sure the Thunder can get this job done.
You can look at Oklahoma City’s depth as stronger than Miami’s as well. With James Harden coming off for a scoring punch and Kendrick Perkins bringing that defensive intensity that can win games, that’s an advantage for Oklahoma City.
How about Russell Westbrook as well? Here’s a guy who can get 25-30 points when he wants to. He can pass the ball and get guys in the right position, and he’s playing alongside Kevin Durant. That’s two guys that you have to account for.
I would look for Oklahoma City to push the tempo in this game, even though that might play more into Miami’s hands. I think if they want to win the game, then slowing it down to a half court game would be better. Miami isn’t as good in that set, so look for the Thunder to really slow down the Heat on their fast breaks.
I do think the aura of being in the Finals and this game one at home helps Oklahoma City win the game. They need to stay under control and remain calm at the start, unlike the game with San Antonio in the close out situation, where they looked to be rushing things a lot. Just do the things that got the Thunder here, and this game will be their game to win.