The Oklahoma City Thunder struggled mightily early on Thursday night in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, resulting in the Miami Heat tying the series at one game apiece. Miami went with a new, interesting lineup for the second game of the series, and, if the pundits are right, Scott Brooks might be wise to do the same thing with his Thunder.
The Thunder probably shouldn't think about making any wholesale changes that are going to alter the chemistry, but Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix believes that OKC should play smallball by replacing Kendrick Perkins in the lineup with James Harden.
Shake it up. Brooks has stuck with Kendrick Perkins through good times and bad this postseason, but it may be time to sit the beefy center down. Miami's small lineup leaves it vulnerable under the rim, but the offensively challenged Perkins has not been able to take advantage of the mismatches. He has just eight points in this series, and while he has rebounded well (7.5 per game), Oklahoma City may start experimenting more with a Serge Ibaka/Durant front line.
That combination would allow the Thunder to get James Harden's offense (21 points in Game 2) in the starting lineup and make them more athletic in the open floor. Even with the small lineup, the Heat crushed the Thunder in points in the paint (48-32). Changes, they could be a-coming.
It would seem a bit risky considering Perkins and Ibaka should be able to present mismatches themselves in the right gameplan, but it certainly wouldn't hurt if Harden is able to get hot right off of the bat.
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