Here's a guide to where to watch a live stream of Game 3 of the 2012 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. This article also breaks down the keys to the game, a preview of what will go down tonight in this epic contest, and a prediction of who will win.
Basketball fans from Oklahoma City to Miami will be dropping everything to watch Game 3, which comes three days after the Heat stunned the Thunder by dealing them their first home playoff loss before a blue and orange sea of adoring OKC fans.
Game 1, which the Thunder won handily, hinged on a stellar performance by Kevin Durant, who scored 17 points during a fourth quarter offensive explosion.
Game 2, which the Heat won, was dominated by a LeBron James and Dwyane Wade offensive effort which saw the duo outscore the Thunder in the first half of the game.
So Game 3, which will be played in Miami, will likely be a referendum on which of the two superstars is the best player in the world right now. LeBron is the reigning league MVP, suggesting that the title is his to lose, but Durant has been the league's best scorer three years in a row.
The throwdown between these two top talents is the main storyline of the night, but the efforts of Wade and the Thunder's Russell Westbrook are also very important in determining who will win Game 3.
Wade has surged in his last few games, and no NBA observers are expecting anything but excellence from him tonight. But Westbrook, always a lightning rod for criticism, has been lambasted for not getting Durant enough looks in Game 2, and Magic Johnson even said Westbrook's Game 2 performance is one of the worst he's ever seen by a point guard playing in an NBA Finals game.
So it appears that Westbrook's play will be one of the biggest keys to this game, as he has the ability to decide whether to take bad shots all night and effectively lose the game for his team (as many say he did Thursday night), or to swallow his pride, stop trying to be a hero, and get the ball to the league's most ferocious scorer, Durant.
Chris Bosh and James Harden are Miami and OKC's other biggest key players, respectively.
Bosh was out for nearly all of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics with an abdominal strain, and his reappearance on the Heat has helped greatly in the Finals. He is one of their taller players, and his double-digit nightly rebounding figures and production in the paint were missed sorely while he was gone.
And Harden is a sharpshooting machine. Voted Sixth Man of the Year, he has been a better producer from the bench in the NBA, and some NBA watchers are saying he should start tonight. That may be a mistake, however, as the formula that brought the Thunder to the NBA Finals seems to be working well, and it wouldn't be prudent to mess with it this late in the season.
It appears that LeBron, who promised fans multiple championships for himself, Chris Bosh and Wade in Miami, may be one game closer to getting that wish after tonight, as the Heat seem poised to win Game 3. LeBron is hungry and surging going into this critical contest, and the home floor will be a massive advantage for the Heat.
In Game 2, the dedication and experience of Miami shined, while Westbrook's inability to be a playmaker was a glaring deficiency in the otherwise stellar Thunder offense. And Westbrook has said he has no plans to switch up his game tonight in hopes of getting the ball to Kevin Durant more often. That could be a huge mistake.
So, though we think the momentum is on Miami's side and that they will pull off a huge Game 3 win, if Durant is able to take over the game as he is so adept at doing, it's anyone's game to win.
But we have to make a prediction, so here it is: The Miami Heat will beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-95.
Here's how to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals live for free online on your computer, tablet (such as an iPad) or smartphone.
The most popular option is probably First Row Sports, which always offers a few free streams. Just click the Basketball link, select the Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game, and it'll start playing live for free on your screen. There will be several stream options on First Row, so if the first one you choose doesn't work, just try another until you find one that does.
Another live stream solution is Veetle, a site that posts links to a wide range of live streams. Click Channels, go to Categories, then select Sports to find the stream options, then click on the Heat-Thunder game. Some of the links may be better than others, while some will likely not really work at all. But keep clicking through and you'll find a site that fills your streaming needs.
If you don't like any of the options that you find on First Row Sports and Veetle, as a last resort you can simply click here to search for other live streams.