America has gotten what they wanted, star power. One could make the argument that the better collection of stars won each Conference Finals rather than the best collection of guys 1 through 10.
As the Finals begin the matchups are a plenty…and so are the Thunder advantages.
Much like against the Spurs, Oklahoma City will once again have an advantage at the power positions. Perkins, Ibaka, and Collison can overpower the Heat “bigs” of Haslem and Bosh…and even Turiaf or Anthony.
Let’s take the usual Heat advantages in any series, namely Wade and Lebron. Well Thabo Sefolosha (and even Westbrook at times) will guard Dwyane. James meanwhile will have Durant on him. I think the length of both Thabo and Kevin will bother the Miami duo, much like what the Indiana Pacers used to go up 3-1 against the Heat just three weeks ago.
Also, the Thunder are so just much more versatilethan the Miami Heat. They have won games and series in numerous ways…they can go big, they can go small, they can mix-up their defensive matchups mid-series and really change the entire landscape (just ask Tony Parker). The Miami Heat, meanwhile, have just proven that they can go small and even smaller…using 4 guards and Lebron at times. That will not win them the championship. Coach Spo has to come better than that.I think there are only two things that can de-rail OKC in this series, and neither are in between the lines. One is the youth of the Thunder causing them to take their foot of the gas pedal.
Sure, we all know they want to win a ring…but there’s something about getting to the Finals early in your career that has proven over the years to have been wasted on a young team. You can’t help but feel like, as a young group, that you’ll have more cracks at it if you lose. That isn’t always the case. Scott Brooks must be on his game this series when it comes to pregame speeches. He has to keep this group sharp and focused on the task at hand. Miami was in this position last year and they know what is at stake. There is no tomorrow.
Secondly, is Russell Westbrook. If he continues to play the way he has been playing…team first and not shoot first, The Thunder will win. But if he gets sucked into a ‘can-you-top-this’ affair with Dwyane Wade it could get out of hand. This is Durant’s team and hopefully Russ still gets that…even if for only two more weeks.
Winning a championship is a right of passage for a team. It is more about the journey than the outcome.
OKC was gone through 10 of last 13 champs in beating the Spurs, Lakers, and Mavericks…..beating the Heat will make that 11.
They have the length and they have the strength…..and they also have my pick.
Thunder in 7.
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