Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Official 2012 NBA Finals Preview

So here we are. 2 teams left, 2 All-World players, 2 legacies (1 making its start and the other seeking validation), but there can only be 1 winner.

These NBA Playoffs have been one wild ride, for the viewers as well as the teams involved. Although, if it has taught us anything it is that jumping to conclusions probably isn't the smartest thing to do. No lead is safe and that goes for leads in games as well as series leads. This series looks to be great one that we'll all enjoy, the hard part will be predicting a winner. But like JFK says, that's why we do it.

Hit the jump for the full preview
So these are what I believe the keys to the series are:

Turnovers: In the regular season the Thunder led the league in turnovers at about 16 per game, but in the playoffs they have been one of the sharpest teams cutting down their turnovers to 11.5 which ranked 2nd of all the playoff teams. This is crucial because TO's lead to fastbreaks and that can really come back to bite ya, especially with these two teams. During the season series, the team with the least turnovers usually won the games. The turnover differential for the winning team was +5 each time. When you turn it over you create easy offense for the other team since you don't have time to get into your defensive sets. If there is anything you want to avoid, it's easy points.

Half-Court Offense: I believe all of the games are gonna come down to this because the Heat, just like the Thunder, struggle in the half-court game. Both teams usually run a lot of isolation plays when not in transition, although both teams have great half-court defenses so something's gonna have to give. The team that can thrive in the half-court, will more than likely be the winner. Also most of the turnovers occur in the half-court sets. So playcalling and execution will be key. This is more of a Spolestra v. Brooks thing though.

Role Players: We all know of the magic that the Big 3 for each respective team can create, but the key to this series doesn't have as much to do with them as you may think. This is gonna depend on the Mario Chalmers' and Thabo Sefolosha's of the series. The Heat are gonna need those "others" to come up big from 3 point land and when the Big 3 hit the bench. With the minutes Lebron has been playing I'm predicting him to hit the floor one of these games and it will not only be on Wade & Bosh, but the role players to lift him up. If OKC can get performances from their starting big man like they have been the last couple games, it'd be very difficult to stop them at all.

Foul Trouble: Well this is never a good thing, but in this series if the wrong person gets in foul trouble it could very well be the deciding factor of a game. If either of OKC's big men get into early foul trouble, which is very likely assuming the way that Wade & Lebron play, it could really hurt the Thunder's chances. Ibaka is a VERY important player in this series and is key to the Thunder's chances so they'd like him to be in there. Ibaka has led the playoffs in shot blocking and can deter many of the drives from players off the wing. Without him in the the paint becomes much more appealing to a James or Wade.

Injuries: When you read this you were probably thinking of one guy, well you'll be right but add in one more as well. Last series, Chris Bosh finally made his return from the lower abdominal injury that had him watching since game 1 of the conference semifinals. He's been coming off the bench so far and seemed to return to form in the last game against the Celtics pouring in 19 pts on 8-10 shooting (3-4 from 3) and grabbed 8 rebs, but really how healthy is he? He could be one slight tweak away from missing the Finals and that would be detrimental to Miami championship hopes. That's something we'll have to see play out. 

Also the original Heatle himself, Mr Dwyane Wade. We've seen him look great and we've seen him look awful this postseason, will he be ready? Can he somehow shake these little funks that he goes through for the majority of games? Is it really his knee? No one knows, but D-Wade has seemed to make himself right at home in the Finals. His averages are insane and last year he single-handedly gave the Heat a chance to take the title. It'll be entertaining to see how he deals with the fatigue & wear-and-tear of such a long season, but I think he'll be up for it.

Crunchtime: I had to add this one in, I mean it is an article about the Heat. But if a game comes down to the final seconds, which a lot of them more than likely will, who is going to execute it the finest and come out with the W's. The Thunder seem to prevail in these situations while the Heat are getting it together. This is gonna mean who's going to be able to make their free throws, stay away from turnovers, and ultimately get the ball in the basket when the game is on the line. Now if there was ever a time to be clutch, I'm guessing that'd be the NBA Finals.

Now that we've been over the keys to the series, it's time for my Prediction. I predict the Heat will win in 6. I think they have finally been battle-tested, not to say the Thunder weren't, but the Heat have been pushed to the brink of elimination. The Heat have been battled like no other team, they've been beat up by teams, fans, and officials. Their superstar player has seemed to figure out what he needed to do to become a champion and that is to simply not give a damn. This will be not be an easy series by any stretch of the imagination, both teams will be facing the toughest opponent they have faced all postseason and it's gonna take a team's best game to win. But ultimately I believe Lebron will finally get all that he's been constantly working for and he'll finally be on top.

But........this is just a prediction, so KD can just as easily block Lebron yet again

who knows....


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