Time: 8:00 PM Central Daylight Time
Place: Oklahoma City Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), ESPN 103.3 KESN-FM
Tonight, Game Four will tell us where exactly this series is headed. We are collectively sitting on pins and needles waiting to see if tonight's game is the one where the Thunder finally show their youth and inexperience and fold under the pressure. I think it is constructive to look back two weeks, which probably feels like last season by this point. If you remember, the Thunder had just come off of a loss to the Grizzlies in overtime, in a game where they had once held a 16 point first half lead. In the final quarter of that game, the Thunder scored a paltry 10 points, where a mere free throw more would have given them the game. Game Four proved to be the most epic of these playoffs. The Thunder, looking into the eyes of a surging Grizzlies team at home and immediately finding themselves in an 18 point hole, started to figure things out and fought back. The rest of the game wasn't about beautiful basketball, but about finding an answer to keep the team alive. The result was a classic triple-overtime win for the Thunder that probably swung the series.
I don't anticipate nor hope for another overtime marathon that has me looking for the rising sun after its end, but I do think tonight bears the same flavor. The Thunder are clearly frustrated with how they have performed and are searching for answers. What gives me hope is that the one trait they have born through these entire playoffs is the ability to figure things out on the fly. They have done it every step of the way, and so I'm excited to see how they attempt to figure it out once more tonight.
What I'm expecting/hoping:
1. A more patient offensive game.
Prediction: Thunder 95, Dallas 90