After Game One of the NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder seemed to have everything working in their favor.
The Miami Heat have played sound basketball all series, and have proven that last year's woes have served as encouragement and fuel to win this year's championship.
LeBron James, who arguably needs this championship more than any other player, has put up big numbers throughout this series. He's averaging 30.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and four assists per game.
I'm focused and determined to bring another championship here to Miami, James told USA Today. It takes a lot of out of me, but at the same time I have that fun package in there, as well.
Much of the focus during the series has been spent comparing James to the Thunder's Kevin Durant.
Durant, who is averaging 31 points per game, has been the only main threat against Miami, and still appears to be the definitive factor for Oklahoma City to regain the lead in the series.
Kevin is an aggressive player, said head coach Scotty Brooks. He plays aggressive basketball. We might have to change a few things up, but he's an aggressive player both ends of the floor.
As good as Durant has been the last three games, he's been in constant foul trouble. He played 39 minutes in the last two games, while playing 46 in Game One. The scoring champ has been forced to be more tentative on the defensive end, which has allowed James to roam the court freely.
The Thunder have had trouble without Durant on the floor, and proved that their lineup cannot defend James.
He is simply a scoring machine.
He wasn't himself last year and I think he's on record for saying that, trying to be too serious all of the time, fellow teammate Chris Bosh said. He's one of the best players in the world. He doesn't have to do anything differently just because the title is on this series.
He just has to continue to be who he is, play his game, and things will work out.
In order for the Thunder to regain the lead in the series, they need to slow down James, and force him to take difficult shots.
Although it's easier said than done, Oklahoma City needs this victory, or they could be facing elimination very early in this series.
Game Four of the NBA Finals is set for Tuesday night in Miami. You can see the see the game on ABC. If you can't get to a television, you can watch a free online live stream of the NBA Finals here.
Prediction: In order for the Thunder to stand any chance in tonight's game, they need to play like they did in the previous three series. Russell Westbrook needs to play like a point guard instead of a shooting guard, and stop taking careless shots. Durant will have to avoid committing fouls so early in the game, as it has come to haunt them in the previous matchups. James, once again, will have big numbers, but don't necessarily expect him to play as well as he did the last two games. Durant, along with the Thunder, now understand their position in this series, and will look to even things up at 2-2. The Heat will likely be unprepared for what the Thunder have in store for them on Tuesday night.
Predicted Score: Thunder 103, Heat 97