Here's a guide to watching a live stream of Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, which begins at 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday and is broadcast on ABC. 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 the outcome.
Game 4 comes on the heels of back-to-back wins for the Heat, who have stunned the Thunder first by dealing them their first home playoff loss last Thursday before a blue and orange sea of adoring OKC fans, and then with another big win in Miami on Sunday night.
Game 4 of the NBA Finals is practically a must-win for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are looking to tie up the series at 2-2 after being struck down by two straight losses to LeBron James and the mighty Miami Heat.
And the pressure is on, as the Heat have the momentum and will be playing in front of their ravenous fans at American Airlines arena in Miami. Plus, if the Thunder don't win tonight, the deck is stacked against them, as no NBA team has gone on to even force a Game 7 in an NBA Finals series after going down 3-1, never mind going on to actually win the title.
So Thunder coach Scott Brooks is under intense scrutiny tonight, as he has to do a better job of keeping his team performing well throughout all four quarters than he has in the previous two games.
The Thunder have done well this season by using their youth and skill to come back from early deficits by dominating in the fourth quarter. But against James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the stellar Heat team, OKC needs to be on point from the gate, rather than relying on come-from-behind surges.
It worked in Game 1, which the Thunder won handily with the help of a stellar performance by Kevin Durant, who scored 17 points during a fourth quarter offensive explosion. But Game 2 and Game 3 have both seen Durant on the bench with four fouls in the third quarter, at which point Oklahoma City's offense has slumped during both games.
And in Game 2, Miami made proper adjustments and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade outscored the Thunder in the first half of the game, while point guard Russell Westbrook, the Thunder's most criticized player, has shot away much of the team's third quarters in the past two games.
Everyone from Magic Johnson to Stephen A. Smith will tell you that one of the keys to the game if the Thunder want to win it is Brooks' ability to get a better performance out of Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook is an offensive monster. He shot 20 for 30 from the field in the first two games of the Finals, and he has been effective as a pull-up shooter as usual. But if he doesn't start getting the ball to Durant -- who's shooting 47 percent so far this series -- the game could once again turn the Heat's way.
Magic Johnson said that Russell Westbrook's performance in Game 2 was one of the worst he's ever seen from a point guard in a Finals game, and the controversy over the young player's game continues in the wake of another inadequate effort in Game 3, which the Thunder lost 91-85.
But some observers say the harsh criticism is unwarranted, as Russell Westbrook's style of play was a big part of what brought the Thunder this far in the first place.
Westbrook, for one, seems immune to all the noise, and after practice Saturday in Miami he spoke out on the topic.
"I'm not making no adjustments,'' he said. "Regardless of what anybody says or regardless of what you guys say about how I play. It doesn't matter. I'm going to play my game regardless of what happens. I'm going to go out and give 110 percent and try to find a way to help us win the game.''
And his players and coach Scott Brooks seem to be backing up his unwavering conviction. Derek Fisher, who has played in 41 NBA Finals games alongside stars including the inimitable Kobe Bryant, says Bryant and Westbrook share a supreme confidence that is found in all truly great basketball players.
But the criticism keeps coming as the Thunder, now down 2-1, face an uphill battle if they want to claim their first championship. And it's not all directed at Russell Westbrook.
Kevin Durant is getting a share of the blame now, too, as his youthful inexperience (he's only 23, while LeBron is 27) is showing in the form of his repeated foul trouble. Two games in a row he's ended up benched for a long stretch early with four fouls, many of which were silly, juvenile mistakes. Meanwhile, LeBron continues to super-humanly avoid foul trouble (though he did uncharacteristically foul out once in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.)
In the end, most of the blame for the way the series is going can be heaped on LeBron James.
He has decided to take this series in superstar fashion, refusing to lose another Finals after guaranteeing multiple championships alongside co-stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
He has been a consummate professional so far this series, and is putting up the kind of big numbers necessary to win. If he can't be stopped, there's really not much Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant can do to stop the Heat.
It appears that James, who promised fans multiple championships for himself, Bosh and Wade in Miami, may be one game closer to getting that wish after tonight, as the Heat seem poised to win Game 4. LeBron is hungry and the momentum is on the Heat's side after winning two games going into this critical contest. Plus having the home floor once again will be a massive advantage for the Heat.
Though we think the momentum is on Miami's side and that they will pull off a huge Game 4 win, if Westbrook acts more as a playmaker, and 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 99-95.
Here's how to watch Game 4 of the NBA Finals live for free online on your computer, tablet (such as an iPad) or smart phone.
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.