Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 3/19/12

I’ve been waiting for a team to emerge as the most likely to bring down the Miami Heat in the finals, and after watching the Thunder play last night they might be the team to do it.

I realize they have struggled a bit since the All-Star break going 7-4 now and losing two games at home, but a big win against a solid team showed me they are regaining momentum on both sides of the ball. Kevin Durant is shooting the ball amazingly, and Russell Westbrook is starting to play with more control exemplified by his zero turnovers in last night’s game.

The Thunder are made-up of the perfect combination of youth, shooters, and athletic big men. The one thing that had been holding them back from taking it to the next level was their chemistry issues. Westbrook, in the past, had made it a personal agenda to outshine Durant which caused some controversy between the two. It appears they are playing a lot better together these days with Durant being the primary scorer, and Westbrook doing a much better job of facilitating and scoring when necessary.

The number of true title contenders is starting to wean itself down to a few teams. The Heat still appear to be the favorites, but I’m starting to like the Thunder’s chances more and more. They still needs to discover a player to become their consistent third scoring option. James Harden is usually this guy, but he has games where he disappears, or struggles from the field. Both Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins are utilized more on the defensive end collecting blocks and rebounds.

The Thunder are one of the few teams that can match the Heat’s one-two punch in Dwayne Wade and LeBron James with equally talented players. The only player separating them right now is Chris Bosh. Even though he has struggled to find his rhythm since coming to Miami he still has the ability to go for 20 and 10 any given night, and the Thunder don’t have a third option that can give them that sort of production.

The Heat will of course have to get through Chicago if they want to make it to the finals. I expect that to happen, and I also expect the Thunder to find their third scorer and make a run to the championship where we all know the Heat can lose.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Five teams that may be interested in Blake Griffin this summer

Nigel Hayes slams New York ahead of Sweet 16 game at MSG

Report: Tony Romo ‘believes it’s Texans or retirement’

Clay Matthews Sr. passes away at 88

WWE’s Kane is inching toward running for mayor in Tennessee

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jung Ho Kang denied visa for DUI, may miss 2017 MLB season

Jets not ready to say Josh McCown will be starter

Sens owner on Sidney Crosby: He’s 'a whiner' and should be suspended for Methot slash

Report: Griffin could be growing more open to leaving Clippers

Brandon Brooks accepts wedding invite from Eagles fan

Report: Josh Gordon expected to get reinstatement update in May

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker