In the shortened NBA season that was, the NBA could not have predicted a better match-up then what they got for the NBA Finals. Two young, high-flying, high-intensity teams battling for the ultimate goal.The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat earned the right to be in the NBA Finals against one another.
Oklahoma City has had something to prove all year that not only were they young, but they were also experienced and ready to flex their muscles and show the rest of the NBA, that a new dynasty could be on their hands. The Miami Heat on the other hand, were one of the most critized teams in NBA history. Lose two games in a row, and everybody predicted they couldn’t win a championship. Now there back in the NBA Finals once again.
Key Player for Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is the spark plug point guard for the Thunder that when making the right decisions and controlling the tempo of the game, is one of the best in the league. Westbrook is going to have to control when to take his shots and when to make assists and give it up to should of been MVP Kevin Durant. If Westbrook starts turning the ball over and simply playing out of control, the Heat will be merciful in taking advantage of that and capitalizing.
Key Player for Miami Heat : LeBron James
Look, we all know what happened to LeBron last year in the Finals against the Mavericks. Now there is even more pressure to win, as he has faced much critism for his lack-luster performance last year. The MVP and supposed “King” without any rings, needs to come out and out perform everybody and maybe silence all of the critics that he can win the “big one.”
Coaching Advantage: OKC, Scott Brooks
No offense to Heat coach Erik Spolstrea, but I think he sometimes just tells either Dwayne Wade or LeBron James to take the ball and do something with it. While the Thunder are always looking at their coach for guidance and what signal to call the designed play. I just think the Thunder coaching staff, just has more under control when it comes to it’s players.
Oklahoma City Thunder X-FACTOR: James Harden
When looking at the match-ups, I’m not sure the Heat can match-up equally with Harden for 48 minutes. Yes, James or Wade may guard him but that leaves other weapons like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook open for more driving oppurtunities against a weaker defender. If Harden can impact the game in some way while on the floor, the Thunder are going to be a tough team to try and stop for a full game.
Miami Heat X_FACTOR: Chris Bosh
There are many equal match-ups all on the floor this year in the Finals.Obviously Dwayne Wade and LeBron James are going to get their shots. That’s just their game. Bosh is more than likely going to have Serge Ibaka on him. If Bosh is able to knock down and get his 15-foot jumper, then that forces Ibaka to get out of the paint and clear the way for James and Wade to drive.
I have been hard on both of these teams all playoffs. First, I didn’t think the Thunder could make it with the dynamic of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Secondly, I didn’t think the Heat would make it just because I didn’t think they could make it out of the Eastern Conference. But both teams proved me wrong.
It’s quite possibly the closest NBA Finals match-ups I’ve ever been apart of. It will be entertaining to watch at the least.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER IN SIX GAMES
TV Schedule (2-3-2) format (all games seen on ABC) :
Game 1: June 12, Miami at Oklahoma City, 9 p.m.
Game 2: June 14, Miami at Oklahoma City, 9 p.m.
Game 3: June 17, Oklahoma City at Miami, 8 p.m.
Game 4: June 19, Oklahoma City at Miami, 9 p.m.
Game 5 (if nec.) : June 21, Oklahoma City at Miami, 9 p.m.
Game 6 (if nec.) : June 24, Miami at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
Game 7 (if nec.) : June 26, Miami at Oklahoma City, 9 p.m.