NBA Championship Preview: Heat vs. Thunder

Ah, the time is finally here. After a great championship round we ended up with the Finals match-up that was predicted by many before the season started. The Miami Heat fought threw the East and had to look right in the face of defeat before beating the Boston Celtics in two straight games. The Oklahoma City Thunder easily took care of their first two opponents before facing the San Antonio Spurs. After losing the first two games though, they got it back together reeling off four straight wins to get to their first NBA Championship since moving to Oklahoma City.

The playoffs have been exciting and once they’re over all we’ll have is baseball. So let’s enjoy these Finals while we can and they should be great.

The match-up of course starts with the two stars on each team, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. This is the most important series that both of them have played in and I expect both of them to step up to the occasion. LeBron has averaged more points than anybody else in these playoffs, with 30.8 PPG. He will get to the foul line and the defensive match-up between him and Durant should be good. Durant needs to force him to take jump shots, because they aren’t going to fall like they did in Game 6 against the Celtics. For LeBron James though, he’s gonna have to force KD into tough jump shots too. The bad news for him is that Durant has been knocking them down, especially in the 4th quarter.

Besides the LeBron-Durant match-up, the match-up to watch is between Dwayne Wade and Thabo Sefolosha. Wade has been struggling this off season and seems to have lost his burst towards the basket. It’s not going to get any easier too, because Sefolosha has been one of the best defenders in this post season and is definitely the best perimeter defender that the Thunder have. Along with Chris Bosh, Wade may be the most important player on the Heat. If Wade doesn’t have it going, the Heat may be in trouble.

Another thing that the Heat need to get going is there 3 point shooting. They take a lot of shots and if they aren’t falling they could find themselves in trouble. Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller have been very inconsistent in their shooting but if they are on the Heat are a hard team to beat.

Finally, we saw how big of a difference Chris Bosh made when he returned to the Heat lineup. He isn’t going to be drilling 3’s like he did in Game 7, but he could grab offensive rebounds and give them a presence down low which the Heat will need with Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka roaming down low. You may think that Eric Spolestra was kidding when he said that Chris Bosh is the most important player on this team, but he was quite serious. Along with Wade, Bosh is most important if the Heat are going to win this series.

The Finals is going to be good, that’s for sure. With two of the league’s premier, young teams I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the last time that we see them in the Finals. Can the Heat get it done in their second straight Finals appearance though?

I don’t think so. While I think that this could easily go either way, I have the Thunder winning in 6. It may be the popular pick right now, but I don’t think that LeBron James will have much help at all and he’s going to need it against this Thunder team. I think he’ll play well, but the Thunder have too many weapons. Kevin Durant will have a big series and I don’t know who will be able to stop James Harden coming off the bench. For that reason, I have the Thunder in 6 games.

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