By: Shawn Davis
We can all agree that sleeping behind the wheel isn’t smart, right? Ok, I will touch on this a little later.
A few weeks back I went to a crazy yacht party for a friends’ birthday bash. There was a perfect mix of comfortable weather, scenic views of NYC, good music, and it was all capped with beautiful women in skin-tight clothing. Tremendous atmosphere; interested? Pay attention!
Later that evening – well, early the next morning – after dancing with some of the lovely ladies on the ship, I got behind the wheel and I was drained. Smart? Of course not and I don’t even own a car. In this analogy, the yacht party is the NBA Finals and the tired driver is Russell Westbrook.
Unless you live in a cave, you know that the Thunder got blitzed from the opening tip. Miami came out in attack mode, never relented and after seven minutes into the game they led 18-2. They were at the bar buying drinks and on the dance floor while Oklahoma City was still getting checked by the security guards. This game was over before the first commercial break because they trailed the ENTIRE game. Tired driver on the scene; wanna ride?
In my preview I said if Dwyane Wade was healthy enough to play Westbrook evenly – or get the best of him – the Heat would have a great chance of winning the championship because I think Kevin Durant and LeBron James are so great they cancel each other out. After two games in the series, that’s holding up pretty solidly – and I expect it to continue. It was great to see Wade catch the ball just above the foul line and attack the rim with very few dribbles and finish with force.
While the first quarter was unfolding (and Westbrook was taking bad shot attempts) I almost screamed at the television, hoping he would steady the team and get them into a decent set or two; instead he went on to miss six field-goals. He was playing faster than his body could contain and I was surprised Coach Brooks didn’t pull him to calm him down for a possession or call a much-needed timeout when the score was 13-2. James Harden or Derek Fisher should have been at the scorers table much earlier. He was out of control! I’m a huge supporter of his aggressive style but he played horribly and was the main culprit in why they couldn’t storm back.
Just look at this: Harden took 11 shots and scored 21 points, Westbrook took 26 shots to earn his 27 points. Ugh. Durant took 22 to tally 32 in the box score. He’s turning his back on the balance he seemed to find in the San Antonio series. It’s ONLY one game but if the Heat prevails in this series, ALL FOCUS will be on Game 2.
Shane Battier has emerged as Miami’s fourth option by scoring 17 points in both games of the Finals to give his team a reliable threat outside of the Heat’s marquee players. He’s going to warrant some real defensive attention and if he keeps this up he can help offset the human Swiss army knife that is Harden. People seem surprised by his play, as someone who has watched him since college; I’m not at all shocked.
Lastly, Oklahoma City didn’t get robbed on the James no-call foul on Durant. The first seven minutes was where they got assaulted by the visitors…and dug themselves a hole. Westbrook needs to make sure he hands over the keys and lets someone else take the wheel if the goal is to be happy when that confetti rains from the rafters.