NBA Finals Preview: Heat vs Thunder

Here it is. We are roughly 35 hours away from the opening tip of the NBA Finals in Oklahoma City. This series is deuces wild as the number two seeds, from each conference, have ascended to the top. The Eastern Conference’s top seed, the Chicago Bulls, fell to the 76ers in the first round, while the West’s top seed, the San Antonio Spurs, gave up a 2-0 series lead to the Thunder in the conference finals.

Kevin Durant and Lebron James will each try to earn their first NBA Championship.

The Thunder went toe to toe with the Spurs, who came into the series coming off back to back sweeps of the Utah Jazz and the L.A. Clippers. The Thunder swept the defending champion Mavericks in round one, and needed just five games to get past Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers. Even though the Spurs seemed to have the edge in experience in games one and two, the Thunder overwhelmed San Antonio with youth, energy, and sheer will to win in games three through six.

The Miami Heat have found their way to the NBA finals for the second time in as many seasons. Their playoff run this season has been tumultuous to say the least. It looked like smooth sailing as the Heat disposed of the Knicks in round one in just five games. Their only loss was by two points in New York. Since that time, it has been a roller coaster for the Heat. The second round was characterized by an injury in game one that sidelined Chris Bosh for the remainder of the series. The Pacers attempted to out physical the Heat, leading to a pair of suspensions; one for Heat forward Udonis Haslem and another for Dexter Pittman. Despite trailing 2-1, the Heat came back and won that series in six games.

Russell Westbrook and Dwayne Wade will more than likely square off quite a bit in this series.

Boston was next and appeared to be an easy opponent coming off a rocky seven game series with the Sixers. Miami won games one and two, but Boston rattled off three straight wins and talk began that we could see the end of Miami’s big three. The Heat trampled Boston in game six, behind a historic game by Lebron James (45 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists). They followed that up with a win in a tightly contested game seven.

So now the questions are upon us. Can the Heat handle the storm that is the Thunder? Can the Thunder take the Heat? We’ll soon find out.

These are two teams built around their BIG 3. The Heat feature MVP James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh and the Thunder will counter with scoring champ Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Sixth Man of the Year James Harden. During the postseason, the Heat’s trio is averaging 67.4 points per game. The Thunder’s trio is dropping 67.1 points per game. James v. Durant will be one of the most intriguing one on one Finals match ups since Bird and Magic. Not only will they both score a ton, but they will have to guard one another. With these two trios playing so well, the series could hinge on the play of the role guys and the Thunder have a clear edge in that department. So who has the edge overall?

Thunder vs. Heat Tale of the Tape

Coaching: MIA Erik Spoelstra                                             Edge: OKC                         OKC Scott Brooks

Big Three: MIA James, Wade, Bosh                                   Edge: EVEN                    OKC Durant, Westbrook, Harden

Role Players: MIA Haslem, Battier, Chalmers              Edge: OKC                         OKC Ibaka, Perkins, Sefolosha

Experience: MIA                                                                       Edge: MIA                        OKC

There are obviously many more factors that will go into play but these are certainly some of the keys. This is the series the whole world wanted and we got it.

 Prediction: Thunder in 7

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