12 June 2012

Who will win the 2012 NBA Finals?

I feel like this is the matchup that the fans, the league and ABC all wanted to see in the Finals from the get-go. It's a matchup of a team that seemingly nobody loves, who could do no right, the Miami Heat, and the team that seemingly nobody hates, who could do no wrong, the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's James and Wade vs. Durant and Westbrook. Who will come out on top?

TV Schedule

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (2) Miami Heat

We all know what the deal is with the Big Three from South Beach. This is a team carried by its fantastic triumvirate of LeBron James, the best player in the game, Dwayne Wade, a top-three player, and Chris Bosh, a very good big man who is probably the most important player on the roster as well as a supporting cast of decent or awful players. Now they came close to winning the title a year ago but they were not quite together as a team and they fell to Dallas in six. They have the experience of coming so close to the title yet not quite sealing the deal. They did not have much struggles with the Knicks in the first round, they struggled to get by the Pacers in the conference semifinals and they fought hard in the conference finals with the Celtics.

Now this is the first appearance of the Thunder on the league's biggest stage in the NBA Finals. It's a young club led by the best natural scorer in the league in Kevin Durant, a top scoring point guard in Russell Westbrook, a very good 2 guard in James Harden, an elite post defender in Serge Ibaka and a capable center in Kendrick Perkins. Oklahoma City did not struggled to put away either the defending champs, the Mavericks, or the Lakers in the first two rounds and they took the Spurs to seven before taking them out.

Do I think the Thunder will win an NBA Finals one of these years? I absolutely do. This, however, will not be the year. I think that the Heat simply cannot come so close to win the title two years in a row without winning it all. They can play the up-tempo style that the Thunder like to employ but where they have a clear advantage is in the halfcourt offense when they start playing physical. And most importantly, James can guard Durant and slow him down just enough to force someone else to carry the load for OKC.

Overall, I consider this to be a defining series for James. This is his third Finals appearance and he has yet to win. You have to give him a pass for the 2007 Finals when he was carrying a pretty crappy team that was not ready to play on the level as the Spurs, who were in their prime and absolutely clicking (come to think of it, those Cavaliers teams had pretty subpar supporting casts for James). He has to win this series to shut up the haters (who would then find even more ridiculous reasons to hate him) and to prove that this Decision of his was not just for the glamour of South Beach, which if they do fail to win the title and lose the Finals in consecutive years after proclaiming they'll nab seven titles, that could be the result. Thus, I'm feeling Miami over Oklahoma City.
Miami in six

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