Zombies draw first blood in NBA Finals

Random Observations from NBA Finals Game 1

  • The NBA finals have been billed by many as a straight duel between the two biggest stars in the game, LeBron James and Kevin Durant and it’s fair to say KD came out on top in Game 1. He finished with 36 points on 12-20 shooting including exploding for 17 in the fourth. Only one player has scored more points in an NBA finals debut than KD and that was when Iverson had 48 vs the Lakers in 2001, worth watching again if just for step-back-step-over on Tyronn Lue. (To just see that move skip to the 8:40 mark, i remember watching it live, an amazing moment!)


  • As expected Perkins played reduced minutes and Collision benefited with a solid game on both ends of the court. Perkins minutes may be further reduced due to the Heat’s tactic of putting LeBron on him and allowing him to roam (which helped him pick up 4 first half steals) this is similar to the Celtics in the last round when they would put Garnett on Perkins and almost had him play a one man zone protecting the rim.
  • The Heat were hot early on but may have fell in love with outside jumpers. These shots stopped falling in the second half  and missed long range jump shots gave the Thunder an opportunity to get out on the break. The Thunder outscored the Heat by 20 points fast break points,this is the first time in any game this has happened since the formation of the ‘big three’.
  • Wade needs to recover his form for the Heat to prosper

    Dwyane Wade was totally outplayed by Westbrook. The Heat need Wade back to his all-star best if they are to stand any chance in this series.

  • KD and Westbrook had 41 points in the second half, the entire Miami Heat team had 40.
  • Thabo Sefolosha was huge for the Thunder with some great defense, hustle plays and one outstanding assist. Most important was his defense on LeBron, he guarded him in the fourth and held him to 7 points on 30% shooting when he was on him. Although he has to work on his dunk game!
  • Pat Riley and Zo were not a happy couple and this is an amazing gif!
  • Eric Spolestra had a drastically reduced rotation only really playing six players, did this effect the Heat in the fourth?
  • Chris Bosh hit three threes in game seven versus the Celtics, did this hurt the Heat? Bosh took 11 shots in the game and exactly zero of them where inside the key.
  • As pointed out by Van Gundy in the commentary because of the cross match-ups the Thunder were getting far too many open looks and mismatches in transition, the Heat can’t give Durant wide open shots and expect to win.
  • Thunder are now 9-0 at home in the playoffs and have overturned at least one double digit deficit in each round. Impressive.
  • Lil’ Wayne actually got in to see the game last night after his problems during the last series but Weezy still wasn’t happy with the Thunder staff!
  • Good news for the Heat is that they trailed in both the Pacers and Celtics series and managed to come back to win.

Questions for Game 2

  • Will Erik Spoelstra start Bosh in game two?
  • Will Perkins minutes be further reduced?
  • Can Wade get his form back?
  • Can Lebron out battle Durant in the fourth?
  • Will Sefolosha make a dunk?
  • Will Harden have a bounce back game after his poor showing in game 1?
  • What sort of shirt will Westbrook’s wear after game 2?

    Durant and Westbrook killing the Heat on and off the court!

    Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Niall is the Co-Founder of the Courtside Collective and www.BasketballDirect.com . He was one of the founding members of North Star in 2002. He has coached at a variety of levels from kids to senior men's teams. He is currently coach of the LYIT National League team and women's college team.


  1. Daz

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    Decent analysis of the game. Don’t have many arguements.

    Couple of things that I took from the game with regards to the rest of the series and to answer a couple of your questions:

    – Bosh is there to stretch the floor is our half court, when Lebron and Wade penetrate, so those 11 shots aren’t hurting us, the fact they aren’t dropping which they usually do, is whats hurting us.

    – I don’t necessarily think that Bosh has to start but he does have to play big minutes. I do like him matched up against Ibaka and UD matched up with collison though, so it might be a better idea to start him in that regard.

    – I think everyone is reading into how poorly Harden played too much. The way I seen it the reason he had a lack of production is because he had a lack of playing time due to Thabo’s increased minutes. Do you take great D over great O?

    – Don’t imagine seeing much of Perk for the rest of this series. This is a small ball series. Kind of a preview of whats to come in the NBA. #ripdominatingpostplay

    – I think Thabo had some great D on Lebron but I’m not worried at all, because if you watch back to the shots that Lebron got, they were around the rim and shots he would usually make, he just didn’t.

    – I think this series is won and lost with the side-kicks. Wade has been in a funk, but atleast in the Boston series he started slow (first half) and finished strong (secong half). He needs to address this problem or a I fear for our chances in this series.

    – Defensively, you are completely right, our transition has gone to pots this post season. Its because of this versatilty theme that we have going on, the idea that we can switch 2 through 5. We gotta do a better job of identifying threats in transistion.

    – I liked what JVG said during the game (in fact I usually like what Jeff says, regardless of the topic) . In times were James and Wade can’t get it going we need to throw the ball into Bosh in the mid post and run offence through him, he’s an untapped source atm.

    – I also like what Wade said in the post game presser, in that this was a ”feeler game”, I expected Seattle to win this one! Game two is our oppurtunity.

  2. Joey Spencer

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    The HEAT were never going to win game one, the Thunder played great in the second half and it was still a close enough game.

    Heat to win game two tonight and close it out in Miami!!

  3. Micko

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    Didn’t like what i saw in game 1. Even if lebron goes off and has a couple of game for the ages (which he will) i dont think the heat will win without wade manning up. Needs to attack constantly. No jumpshots should be allowed!! Lebron has to guard durant in the 4th quarter otherwise its absolute monkey time!
    P.s Chalmers is very underrated! Perkins is useless. And would someone FUCKING box out that fat white boy collisson???FML!!!!!

  4. Niall McDermott Post author

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    Agreed, Heat can’t settle for Jumpers and win the series!

    I think they HAVE to win tonight or they are done!

  5. Jamesy Hughes

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    Every player steps up their game in the post-season, and with this being the first time the Heat have played the Thunder in the post-season, I can completely understand where Wade is coming from with this ‘feeler game’ notion. I don’t mean to make excuses for the Heat’s loss, but this is new territory for the Thunder and the Heat needed to see how they were going to perform (mainly Durant and Westbrook) and how the Heat needed to react. Can anyone else keep Durant at bay and let Lebron and Wade run the fastbreak? Or can only the elite mark the elite?

    With LeBron taking his time to get his first championship, I’m sure he’s not going to want to let this one slip away. Was there some serious strategising between Spoelstra and the Heat for game 1 of this series in order to be able to ‘ball’ in the 4 games following? Or was this just yet another reality-check to Lebron about how his career is going to be remembered?

    Lebron and Wade definitely didn’t look as if they were giving their all on Tuesday night. If Dwayne is right, with Lebron’s Game 6 performance, and Wade in games 3, 4 and 5, I could see a big difference for the Heat in Game 2, and see them taking the championship home to Miami for the first time in 7 years. (And whats more, no-one could then give these BS arguements that Lebron isn’t the best because he doesn’t have a championship!)

  6. Niall McDermott Post author

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    I don’t buy this “feeler” game stuff.

    This is the NBA finals you don’t just give up one game as a “feeler” game. The Heat are the ones that have been in the finals before, this is the Thunders first time. Heat lost game one because they were outplayed down the Stretch, nothing to do with feeling up the Heat.

    Just announced that Bosh is starting. .. Hmm

  7. Daryl

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    The ”feeler game” reference doesn’t mean that they threw the game. It just means there is no cause for concern as there was no idea what kind of tone was set. Now they know. I partially agree with ya Niall on tonights game! If the Heat don’t take this game it’s not exactly done, but its close to be being done!

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