Words by Phlip
I am still having a hard time coming to grips with San Antonio winning 20 straight games, including the first two of the Western Conference Finals only to turn and lose four CONSECUTIVE games, something they didn’t do all season (or last, for that matter).
As ever, I own up when I am wrong, and I had them pegged to take OKC in 6, then Miami in 7. I fudged up, point and laugh at me, I deserve it.
But now it is time to talk about the NBA finals…
I come across as a bit of what the kids these days call a “hater” when I let what I WANT to take place speak for me, but since I am owning it, I should be okay. As a card-carrying Lakers fan, I need and want the Boston Celtics out of the playoffs as soon as expediently possible every year, and Miami let them linger too long. In my opinion, Miami let Boston hang around long enough to help the Thunder’s coach Scott Brooks to properly plan to jump on them before Spoelstra has a chance to make the adjustments with his job on the line. Also, as a NON-fan of LeBron James, I kinda enjoy seeing him choke it up with the big stage on the line. In my opinion, the Westbrook/Durant combination will be quite the task for LeBron and Dwyane Wade to handle, moreso than Rondo/Pierce, because of the difference in OKC’s YOUNG Bigs, compared to the Celtics’. At the end of it, youth and coaching will do this, and if Scott Brooks adjusted to beat the coach of the year in a 6-game mini-sweep, then he can beat one who STILL cannot control the egos of his superstars.
Now for the if/then…
If Serge Ibaka is on Chris Bosh and Chris Bosh’s hand is as hot as it was in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, then Ibaka’s shot-blocking prowess will be effectively neutralized and this plays into Miami’s advantage.
If Dwyane Wade keeps not showing up in the first halves – an unenviable task afforded to Thabo Sefalosha, whose name sounds like a VD – leaving it to LeBron and LeBron only, as their role players have regressed to last year again, then Miami is in real trouble, as 65 point combos are NOTHING to Durant and Westbrook, and with The Beard coming off the bench to pitch in another 20-25 himself, OKC is more than capable of running with Miami and going shot-for-shot with them. This situation, however, plays into OKC’s favor, as Miami does not do panic well.
It goes without saying that LeBron James will come off in this one, but it will not come without some Kendrick Perkins bruises in exchange for his trips through the lane. Perkins will get a technical or 3 and possibly a Flagrant 1.
My major issue, though, is that Miami is coming off of a harder-than-it-should-have-been series that went to 7 games and is coming into a well-rested Oklahoma City team who not only is as young (actually younger) as them, but will be a week rested due to getting the job done in earlier rounds, will have home court advantage which matters when one considers that the teams split their regular season meetings, with the home team taking each game.
On the whole, this is a series in which neither team has a clearcut advantage. To be totally honest, that SHOULD mean that we’re about to get a supremely competitive Finals series, and my opinion is that Oklahoma Series will take this in 6 games.
Naturally, I reserve the right to be wrong and will not slink away from it when/if I am. So let’s watch some basketball!