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THE STORY: For LeBron James, redemption stands just two victories away. James and the Miami Heat have a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals and can move within a win of capturing the title as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 on Tuesday night. James has been sensational so far in the series, dominating at the offensive end while frustrating Thunder superstar Kevin Durant in the process. Durant will need to stay out of foul trouble if Oklahoma City hopes to even the best-of-seven.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ABC, TSN
ABOUT THE THUNDER: Durant has played fewer minutes than he is accustomed to over the last two games, thanks to some rare foul issues. Durant picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and was forced to the bench just as the Thunder appeared to be taking control of the game. Sure enough, the Heat fought back from a 10-point deficit and Durant was unable to put together yet another fourth-quarter rally as the Thunder dropped their second game in a row. "It's a tough break for us, man," said Durant, who finished with 25 points. "You know, I hate sitting on the bench, especially with fouls."
ABOUT THE HEAT: He has been called a turncoat, a prima donna and a choker - but James has managed to shrug off the haters and is putting together one of the best postseason performances in memory. He took over when the Heat needed him down the stretch, scoring 29 points and adding 14 rebounds. James has put together 13 straight games of 25-plus points so far in the postseason, looking as strong as he did in capturing the regular-season MVP award. "Last year I didn't make enough game-changing plays, and that's what I kind of pride myself on," he said. "I didn't do that last year in the Finals."
- Over is 9-3-1 in Heat's last 13 overall.
- Heat are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 home games.
- Thunder are 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
1. Of the last 12 NBA Finals tied 1-1 after two games, the team winning Game 3 has gone on to capture the title 11 times. The only exception: Last year's championship, when Miami was up 2-1 against Dallas but lost the final three games.
2. The Thunder have connected on just 36 percent of their shots from 15 feet or further. They shot 45 percent from that range in the conference finals against San Antonio.
3. Heat F Shane Battier has 11 3-pointers through the first three games, tying Rashard Lewis for the most through three games in Finals history.
Betting tips: Brewers scratch SP Marcum vs. Blue Jays
Weather to watch
Miami Marlins at Boston Red Sox – 11 mph winds are expected to blow out to left-centerfield.
NBA: Heat are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 home games.
Euro 2012: France has just one loss in its last seven competitive matches.
MLB: Pirates are 7-0 in their last seven games as a favorite.
WNBA: Connecticut Sun are 18-6 ATS in their last 24 vs. Eastern Conference.
NBA: Thunder are 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games following a ATS loss.
MLB: Rockies are 1-10 in their last 11 overall.
WNBA: Liberty are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
45 – The New York Liberty are coming off a franchise-worst 45-point loss at Connecticut as 8-point underdogs. The Liberty shot just 36.5 percent from the floor and are set as a 6.5-point underdogs Tuesday in Atlanta.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine - Ukraine's veteran striker participated in Monday's training session, but is still considered "50-50" to play in Tuesday's final group game against England. He scored both of his club's goals in its 2-1 victory over Sweden.
Game of the day
Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat (-3.5, 192)
“I don't give a damn how we get four. We can win 32-31. It doesn't matter to me. We can win any type of game. We can win a gritty game, a high-paced game, but we take every game as its own. We don't go into a game saying this is what type of a game it's going to be. We going into a game saying this is how we're going to play. We're going to be aggressive, we're going to try to control the rebounding, have low turnovers, and we're going to try to get some good shots up, and try to get to the free-throw line.” – Miami Heat’s LeBron James ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4 against the Thunder.
Notes and tips
Shaun Marcum will not make Tuesday’s scheduled start against his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Marcum is experiencing tightness in his right shoulder, though the severity of the injury isn’t known yet. He is 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA this season for the Milwaukee Brewers, who have yet to name a starter to fill in for Marcum yet.
France coach Laurent Blanc is considering lineup changes to his roster for Tuesday’s game against Sweden. France would finish first in Group D with a victory and will go through with a draw, but has three players coming into this match with yellow cards. Blanc is considering resting right back Mathieu Debuchy, center half Philippe Mexes and right winger Jeremy Menez with Sweden already eliminated. If any of those three players are booked again Tuesday, they would be suspended for the quarterfinals.
Three Toronto FC players were arrested for public intoxication early Sunday after their involvement in a bar fight in Houston. The status of Miguel Aceval, Luis Silva and Nick Soolsma for Wednesday’s game against Houston is unknown as of yet. Toronto owns an MLS-worst 1-10 record this year.
The Thunder look to take advantage of a Miami team that is 1-8 ATS in its last 9 Tuesday games. Oklahoma City is the pick (+3 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Heat favored by only 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (+3 1/2). Here are all of today's picks
TUESDAY, JUNE 19
Time Posted: 8:00 a.m. EST (6/18)
Game 507-508: Oklahoma City at Miami (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma City 128.323; Miami 129.725
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 1 1/2; 188
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 3 1/2; 192
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (+3 1/2); Under