Originally written on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 11/18/14

After winning 4 in a row against a San Antonio Spurs team that hadn’t lost in a month and a half, the Oklahoma City Thunder looked like they were on a roll headed into the NBA Finals. They seemed pumped and ready to face a Miami Heat team that had just been beat up through a seven-game series with the Boston Celtics. They looked poised to jump out of the starting gate with two games at home in front of arguably the best crowd in the NBA. They looked ready to be crowned champions.

Things look a little different now.

The Thunder are down 2-1 after dropping a game at home and one on the road and if they don’t get it together quickly, since the Finals are a 2-3-2 format, they may not get a chance to go back and play at Chesapeake Energy Arena until next season.

Things are looking a little bleak for the Thunder, which comes as a real surprise to me. Anyone else? Did anybody think James Harden would be a no-show when his team really needed him? Did anybody think Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would get outplayed by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James? I didn’t. Not after the series against the Spurs and definitely not after the second-half beatdown the Thunder put on the Heat in Game 1.

I bet sports writers all over the country were already writing their LeBron pieces in their head after the Heat collapse in the first game of the series. “This guy can’t win when it counts,” “He chokes under pressure,” “This is why he can’t measure up to MJ.” Well LeBron has fired back at those hypothetical headlines and done what he’s been criticized his whole career for not doing: winning when it really matters.

Granted, the difference between Game 1 and Games 2 and 3 wasn’t what LeBron James did, it’s the help he got from his teammates. In Game 2, Wade looked like he just flipped on a switch and decided he was going to start playing, Chris Bosh looked like he was finally ready to be the inside force he was supposed to be all along, and for some reason, Shane Battier became a 3-point sharpshooter.

This is what the Heat need, it’s what they’ve always needed. They have to get contributions from people not named LeBron. If you asked me if the Heat had a shot before the series started, I would have said no. But they seem to finally get the idea that their success is based on the team, not the individuals they have.

Now there’s no guarantee that this continues. If they go back to 1-on-1, isolation basketball, things could fall apart in an instant, and that 2-1 lead they’ve worked so hard to get could be a 4-2 loss in the end. I’ve been surprised up to this point, but now I’d be surprised if they reverted back to the old ways after a taste of success.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cam Newton not a person of interest in night club shooting

Should Texans consider moving on from Arian Foster?

Dice-K begins comeback bid, makes first start in Japan

Report: Teams think Suh to Dolphins is ‘done' deal

Adrian Peterson still has ‘concerns’ about Vikings


LSU S blasts Tigers fans for leaving game early

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

UMass to retire jersey in honor of John Calipari

Houston Texans are moving on from Andre Johnson

Top landing spots for Darrelle Revis

Mets: Murphy will no longer discuss his religious beliefs

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts after DeAndre Jordan doesn't shoot

WATCH: Ridiculous foul called on Penn State

WATCH: Westbrook throws down huge dunk in return

Cowboys hang out at Duke game, pose with funny poster

Report: Peyton Manning's contract incentives tied to Super Bowl

Bean responds to Murphy's homosexuality comments

Haynesworth to Suh: Skins ‘took my love away from the game’

Five teams that should consider signing JaVale McGee

MLB local streaming is unlikely for Opening Day

Ronaldo sends his hair stylist to check on his wax figure monthly

Arizona Diamondbacks unveil 'The Churro Dog'

Ray Allen announces he will not play this season

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Every starting QB ranked by mobility

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts

UFC must make Rousey vs. Cyborg happen

Suh to Dolphins a 'done' deal?

Why haven't brands shown love to James Harden?

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.