3 Things Everyone Ought to Know About The 2012 NBA Finals
Big 3 versus Big 3.
Kevin Durant versus
LeGod LeBron James.
Humble versus Hollywood.
[Insert random comparative hyperbole]
The playoffs so far have been great. Only thing missing was the following LeBron tweet: @theRealSkipBayless Are you not entertained!
You may be reading this as a Heat fan and expect Miami to emerge victorius from the all-weather battle. You may be reading this as a Thunder fan and hope KD and company sweep the Heat. Or you may just want a good series. No matter what you hope for, here are 3 things you need to know about the 2012 NBA Finals.
Fouls Will Determine the Heat's Competitiveness
You know the Thunder and Heat split their season series. You also know the season series matters as much as Rajon Rondo's Game 7 triple double. Unless the Heat (and the officials) put key players for the Thunder into foul trouble, there will be minimal challenge for the Thunder.
The Heat match up poorly with the Thunder. Bosh doesn't get those open mid range shots on anyone in the Thunder front line, not named Nazr. Plus, the Thunder actually box out (6th best rebounding team in the league and the best at limiting opponent's defensive rebounds) which will limit Bosh's rebounding.
No one can stop LeBron James but himself. No one can stop Kevin Durant but Russell Westbrook. I don't expect them to guard each other often, but those two are a push head to head.
After Miami players help off of Durant or Harden or Westbrook (more on him later), there's no one left to either rebound the ball or defend the impressive mid range game of Serge Ibaka.
Whether you chose to compare Westbrook to the ghost of Dwyane Wade or compare Harden to the ghost of Dwyane Wade, their relative impact on the game is close but arguably favors the Thunder.
Unless the ghost of Dwyane Wade becomes
corporeal rejuvenated, the Thunder have the indisputable edge. Foul trouble is the only way Miami can conquer their matchup problems.
Wade Needs to Get to the Free Throw Line to Matter
If Skip Bayless wants to run with the Batman analogy, that must make him the "Batman Beyond" Bruce Wayne (and make Kevin Durant Terry McGuiness). Dude is looking really hobbled right now. If he can become his former self for 3 games, they have a chance to make things interesting.
Had an argument with my friend the other day who may think the same way you do. He tried to excuse Wade's sub-par performance (sub-par in comparison to the previous Dwyane Wade) by saying it was due to fewer touches and fewer shots. Looked back at reality and saw little difference in Wade's per game shot attempts (down 1.7 shots) and usage rate (down 1.2 percent) compared to his championship season.
The big difference was in free throw attempts. Wade is averaging about 4 fewer free throws than his champion self. Wade at the free throw line gets him in rhythm and can alleviate some of the aforementioned matchup problems.
If Sefolosha is occupied by LeBron James, look for Wade to try to post up and get to the line. Unlike Ginobili, you can afford to disrespect Wade's 3 point shot. Westbrook and Harden can stop Wade from penetrating free willy from the perimeter. #pause
Westbrook Will Be Unleashed
Russell Westbrook on the other hand, will be unstoppable. Remember last year when Derrick Rose forced Spoelstra to put LeBron James on Derrick Rose? Remember how LeBron's only hope was forcing contested jumpers and the fact that Rose had no one to pass to? Russell Westbrook doesn't have that problem. He has the scoring champion on his team and James Harden. Plus his mid-range game isn't as shaky as Rose's.
Miami has no one who can guard him. Battier is too slow. Chalmers is too slow and too weak. The ghost of Dwyane Wade is too slow. Norris Cole won't see the court often, not that it'd matter.
Series Prediction: Thunder defeat the Lukewarms in 6 games
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