2012 NBA Finals : Thunder G Thabo Sefolosha Unsung Hero In OKC Comeback.

By Robert D. Cobb

OKLAHOMA CITY – If there was a unsung hero from the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 105-94 Game 1 win over the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals, it may be guard Thabo Sefolosha.

Sefolosha, a 6’7, 215-pound shooting guard from Switzerland, would hold three-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Miami Heat small forward LeBron James, to seven points in the fourth quarter to help fuel Oklahoma City’s 58-point second half comeback from a seven point halftime deficit.

Whether it was diving for a loose ball, grabbing a rebound down low or making an open shot, Sefolosha made his presence felt–most particularly on James.  Sefolosha would score nine points, record two steals, block one shot—on James—and dish out two assists in 29 minutes.

A former 2006 first-round draft pick by the Philadelphia 76ers out of high school, Sefolosha would prove to be a true defensive ace down the stretch for Oklahoma City in shutting down James.

James, who would have 23 points before the start of the fourth quarter, would have trouble with Sefolosha’s energy and activity on defense, as he would make James visually uncomfortable in contesting every shot in holding James to 2-of-6 shooting.

James would shoot 2-of-7 from the field during the fourth quarter.

Sefolosha, would also assist in holding Heat shooting guard, Dwyane Wade to 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field, would being switched to guard James in the fourth quarter, a move that turned out to be a brilliant late-quarter adjustment by Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks.

With Sefolosha guarding James, three-time NBA scoring champion, Kevin Durant was left open to score—and drive—at will, as he would do in scoring 17 of his game-high 36 points down the stretch.

While Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook would combine for 63 points in helping lead Oklahoma City to a 1-0 series lead, Sefolosha deserves some well-deserved credit in clamping down on James when it mattered most.

Follow me on Twitter, @RobertCobb_76

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