Lets face it. It’s The Finals. It’s Miami vs. Oklahoma City. King James vs. The Durantula. You should be excited. However, in case you need a few reasons to tune in, here are some things to look forward to (in no particular order):
1. A Phenomenal Series. You could easily make the case that the Heat and Thunder are the two best teams in the Association. You get the James/Durant matchup. MVP vs. Scoring Champ. You get to witness Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh play in true Finals form. You get to see Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka play at a ridiculously high level. You could argue that you get 5 of the best 10 players in the NBA in this series. All that spells phenomenal to me.
2. Who is better…LBJ or KD? This matchup is the most exciting thing to me about this Finals series. It is of this writer’s opinion that James and Durant are the two best, most fascinating players in the league. And they will be playing chest to chest for most of this best of seven. Will the 3-time MVP play up to his award or will it be the 3-time scoring champion that wills his team to a trophy? We may even know who is “better” at the end of this thing.
3. Wade or Westbrook? Who is the better guard? Right now, it’s obviously Wade with his ring and experience. But Russell Westbrook (not being a TRUE PG) has a very interesting and effective style when his jumper is on. Both of these guys give up their bodies for the game. Both throw themselves at loose balls and rebounds. Westbrook tends to turn the ball over a bit more frequently, but when he doesn’t, watch out. Dwyane Wade is Dwyane Wade. A superstar caliber guard. Most likely a Hall of Fame player. Who will step up and be the necessary piece that James or Durant need to hoist the trophy?
4. Will Serge Emerge? Serge Ibaka has become a household name this season. He was in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. He’s a blocking and defending machine. He even jumped his PPG up during the last series against The Celtics. The Thunder will certainly need him to step his game up even further now, especially since it appears Chris Bosh is back to form in the paint. Ibaka is definitely a player that can make a giant difference in this game without scoring a ton of points.
5. OKC in The Finals. First time since…? First time since they were the Seattle Supersonics in the ’95-’96 season (lost to Jordan’s Bulls). Yeah, remember them? They moved to OKC 5 years ago and the Seattle fans must be spinning in their old team’s grave. Like the move or not, here is a chance for The Thunder to establish themselves as their own franchise. Some will always remember where they came from, but I imagine most will see OKC adding to their already well-formed foundation in the city. No chance of the team leaving another city with a title and a giant, loyal fan base.
6. Jeff Van Gundy. Need I say more? If you’ve been watching the games this year, you have heard the excited declarations of JVG. Not only is he a fantastic color commentator, he offers up several verbal gems per game. From his amazing rant on flopping to his impatience with end of game scenarios, Van Gundy is THE truth-teller you want on the sidelines. “He should be fined One Million Dollars for that flop” is just a sample of the Van Gundy-isms you should expect this series. He really is the best.
7. Experience vs. Youth. This is always the argument no matter the sport. Experience is a more valuable asset when it comes to winning. No, youth is the key factor to raising the trophy. Perhaps this series will help settle that debate. Wade has a ring and has been to multiple Finals. LeBron doesn’t have the jewelry, but has played in two NBA Finals series. The Thunder are a very young starting five. Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Harden are all 22 or 23 years old. But they are playing with a determination that can’t be denied. This will be a very interesting point of view to watch from.
8. Glasses to Lenses Ratio. This topic has become more than a fad in sports today. In fact, I believe you receive a pair of black, lens-less glasses when you sign on the line. A proper ratio of lenses to glasses would be two to one (2:1). I have a feeling it will dip to about 1.55:1 by Game 4. I’m just not sure if this is ridiculous or just weird. You decide.
9. LeBron’s 1st Title or Durant’s First Title? Which great player will win one first? This is probably the subject you could divide most NBA fans with. 98% of you either love James or absolutely loathe him. If James does not win this year, the hatred of him will be celebrated 10 fold. If Durant wins, he will pretty much cement himself as the best in the league at 23 years old, and James’ head will pretty much explode. He’ll have to move to the mountains in Dade County.
10. LBJ Shuts Up the Haters or Gives Them More Fuel. It is easily said that LeBron is the most evil, diabolical jerk that has ever played basketball. If you do think that way, you are tuning in to watch James absolutely tank it. You want him to get swept in four so you can yell every terrible four letter word at your television sets while wearing an insane grin on your hapless face. If you’re a fan you will be tuning in to see him win that trophy. That way you can go to work the next day and yell every terrible four letter word at your Heat-hating coworkers while wearing an insane grin on your hapless face.
11. Over/Under ABC Showing Durant’s Mother? Kevin Durant loves his Mama. As he should. However, she has gotten more face time on TV than half of the Thunder bench. I put the over/under at 15.5 for the series. Any takers?
12. James Harden. James Harden would start for any other team in the NBA right now. He’s that good. Probably a top 20 player in the NBA. He comes off the bench and constantly hits big time threes, gives up his body while driving hard to the rack and just plain plays hard 100% of the time. One of the most fun players to watch, look for Harden to come alive during this series. And possibly his beard too.
13. Good vs. Bad There isn’t a bad person on this court. From LeBron and Wade to Durant and Harden, these guys are some of the nicest individuals you will see on an NBA floor. That said, this series has pitted the hated Heat against the beloved Thunder. That is a very strong dynamic when it comes to settings like this. People who don’t care about the NBA will tune in just to root for or against Miami. Expect ratings to be the highest we have seen since the Jordan era.
14. Bosh’s Resurgence. It looks like Chris Bosh is back for real. 100%. He looked great in games 6 and 7 against the Celtics. Especially in game 7 where he hit 3 three-pointers. He is more than a vital piece to the Heat on the inside. Without him, the Heat were close to being beaten by Indiana. They had absolutely no inside presence and Roy Hibbert destroyed them for a few games because of that. With Bosh back, expect the Heat to challenge in the paint. Expect Bosh to throw up 15 footers – and drill them. Expect Bosh to be a HUGE part of the Heat.
If those reasons aren’t good enough for you to tune in, that’s fine. But let it be known that if you are one of the poor souls that doesn’t watch this years’ Finals, you are blatantly ignoring history. That’s right. History will be made in this series. Will it be Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka? Will it be James, Wade and Bosh? One thing is for sure…this series will be phenomenal.