It’s amazing how the NBA could have you thinking one way and conclude in a totally different fashion.
Just nearly two weeks ago, the “unbeatable” San Antonio Spurs had taken a 2-0 series lead against the young and wild, Oklahoma City Thunder. In the East, the Miami Heat were involved in a similar situation winning two straight games against the Boston Celtics.
Fans had already made up their minds and were ready for a Heat vs. Spurs NBA Finals.
A few games later, to everyone’s surprise, both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics managed to find a way to win three straight games. The victories would elevate both teams into the driver seat with a 3-2 series lead.
Once again, fans made quick decisions on the outcome. All signs pointed to a Thunder vs. Celtics NBA Finals.
When everything was all set and done, the two teams that were able to climb the top of the mountain throughout all the adversity were the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat.
Yet again, the NBA had thrown another curveball, however this time, it finally made sense.
The Miami Heat, after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s NBA Finals was an immature team. It was the first year that the “Big Three” [James, Wade, and Bosh] played together and not only was the roster incomplete in terms of a strong supporting cast, the entire team didn’t feel like it was ready to win.
This year proved to be different. The Miami Heat consistently has showed the world that the team is no longer scared of the moment. Game 6 and 7 of the Heat/Celtics series demonstrated just how much more mature the Heat have gotten.
Chris Bosh’s return [suffered an abdominal injury] provides the Heat with not just another big body in the paint, but a supreme 15-17 foot jump shooter that has the talent to stretch the floor better than most big men in the league. The Heat will need a healthy Chris Bosh in the Finals in order to compete with the upstart, Thunder.
With that said, everything is going to rely on the performance of the three-time MVP LeBron James. It’s now or never for the eight year pro. Unlike last year, James will need to come alive in the fourth quarter and show the world that he wasn’t named “King” for nothing.
The Miami Heat has represented the Eastern Conference for the second straight time in the last two years. With a deeper bench and more talented role players combined with the “Big Three”, Miami looks to bring all the heat to the championship series.
Then you have the Oklahoma City Thunder, led by their All-Star gunners in Kevin Durant and point guard, Russell Westbrook. Let’s not forget the 2012 NBA top sixth man, James Harden who has tremendous explosive ability and can take over a game better than many All-Star players in the league.
This will be the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first rodeo in the NBA Finals since 1996, when the franchise was known as the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Thunder, time and time again have been slapped with the “too young” tag, but certainly have been playing with outstanding poise and focus. The Thunder is a true team in every sense. Each player takes accountability for his actions, and if something goes wrong, you can be sure that “Big Perk” [Kendrick Perkins] will make you hear about it.
Like the Heat, the Thunder will need to rely on their young star, Kevin Durant. Durant is one of the most unselfish players you will ever see, which is the primary reason why both Westbrook and him have been able to play together effectively.
James Harden will be a difficult player to defend for the Miami Heat. The Thunder will look to take advantage from start to finish.
There you have it, the stage has been set. The Heat’s “Big Three” goes against the Thunder’s own three stars. The role players from each bench will battle every game for momentum. Home court advantage will be at a premium in the Finals, especially in Oklahoma City.
Just how exciting and action-packed will this series be? According to the Chicago Tribune, it will be only the fifth time since 1967, in which the NBA’s scoring champ [Durant] will meet the MVP of the league [James] in the NBA Finals. The last two players in this situation was Michael Jordan and Karl Malone in 1997.
Game 1 will be played on Tuesday, 6/12 at 9:00 PM ET [ABC]
Prediction: Thunder in six.
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