It was the Finals match-up that everyone wanted to see when the playoffs started, and it has finally come to fruition. Once the Miami Heat won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the basketball world had what it hoped for all along: a Heat vs. Thunder NBA Final. The league’s two best players, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, will now square off to see who will win their first NBA title. Will it be James, who’s won three MVP’s before turning 28, or will it be Durant, who has three scoring titles before the age of 24? Will the Heat be able to overcome the pressure this time around, or will the young and hungry Thunder arrive a little earlier than expected?
On paper, this series looks to be heavily in Oklahoma City’s favor. The Thunder are riding high after winning four straight against the previously unbeatable San Antonio Spurs, and they have one of the deepest teams in the league. In Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, OKC has the best “Big Three” in the NBA right now, and their offensive firepower is unmatched. Defensively, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, and Thabo Sefolosha provide plenty of toughness. Finally, Nick Collison, Nazr Mohammed, and Derek Fisher bring leadership and experience to a young group. Scott Brooks has proven his coaching acumen, and the Thunder have the best home-court advantage in basketball. Not to mention pretty much everyone is rooting for Miami (and more specifically, James) to fail.
With all that said though, the Heat still have two of the best players in the league, and there is no question that James is at the top of his game right now. His play in Game 6 against the Celtics is one of the greatest playoff performances in recent memory, and he seems to be a man on a mission. He has had to pick up the slack with Dewayne Wade struggling, but you can bet that Wade will play significantly better in the Finals. And though Chris Bosh has obviously been hampered by his abdomen injury, his impact will certainly be larger in the Finals as well. James, Wade, and Bosh match-up well with Durant, Westbrook, and Harden, but the Thunder’s depth on both ends of the court is what separates them from the Heat. For that reason, James’ drought will continue, and Oklahoma City will win the NBA title in six games.