NBA Finals Preview
This year we have an epic matchup between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unlike last year, the Miami Heat come in as a slight underdog and will start the series on the road. The Thunder have been undefeated at home this postseason. Their crowd is like no other in the NBA. It has a college like atmosphere in the building. With LeBron James just a few days removed from one of the greatest performance in NBA playoff history, he will no doubt be at his best in this series. As a NBA fan, you can’t ask for a better matchup than these two teams. Here’s how it breaks down.
Look for Oklahoma City Thunder to dictate the tempo of the game. With Russell Westbrook at the point, the Thunder can get out and run to create easy buckets. The Heat may have a problem keeping up with the Thunder high scoring attack. Unlike Boston, Oklahoma City rarely has long scoring droughts. Another advantage that the Thunder has in this series is that they match up well with the Heat. They can put Serge Ibaka on Bosh; they can throw Kevin Durant or Thabo Sefolosha on LeBron James and have Russell Westbrook on either Mario Chalmers or Dwyane Wade. The issue the Thunder may have with the Heat is that there is no answer for the three time MVP LeBron James. With him and Wade driving to the hole, it opens up spot up shooters like Shane Battier, Mike Miller, and Mario Chalmers.
For the Miami Heat, we pretty much know that LeBron James will just have his normal 30 points 8 rebounds 7 assist per game in this series; that’s all. What the Heat will need to do is have a huge contribution from the role players. Even though James has been consistent all season, you’re not able to say that about Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Bosh was huge in game 7 versus the Celtics but game 1 of this series will be his 4th game back from injury. You can’t count on him to be big in every game. Dwyane Wade has had knee issues throughout the playoffs and hasn’t been himself. He is good only in spurts now. That’s why it is important for the Heat role players to come up big. The problem is they are all spot up jump shooters and none can truly create their own shot. If the Thunder stays home on the shooters then all the pressure is on James and Wade to create. The problem solver for this is the Heat’s defense. Their defense sometimes is their best offense. They create fast breaks and easy buckets.
The way it looks, the Heat will have a hard time converting in the paint because of the presence of Perkins and Ibaka. With that being the case, the Heat turns into a jump shooting team. The Heat cannot win four in a row just shooting the ball. It will be interesting to see how often James and Durant are matched up against each other. When the game is on the line, I trust Oklahoma City a little bit more. Thunder win the first two at home, then the Heat will take the third game at their place. OKC wins a tight one in game four and the Heat win game five. OKC closes it out in the 6 games. OKC 4-2.
What is your prediction?