Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NBA Finals Prediction

Its the Finals we all wanted to see - the two best players on the planet going at it and it just happens that neither have won a title before.  Logic seems to lean in the Thunder's favor.  They've got home court advantage (except through the first 5 games, due to a ridiculous change of format from the first 3 playoff rounds - why go from 2-2-1-1-1 to 2-3-2 in just the last round?  If the NBA believes its the best format, then use it throughout.  Just absurd.  Now if the home team loses one of the first two games, they have to face 3 straight road games.  If a road team manages to win even 3 of the first 5, they still have to contend with 2 road closeout games.  2-2-1-1-1 is fair, balanced in closeout opportunities and lends itself ideally to momentum swings.  Its absolutely perfect.).

Anyway, back on point.  OKC have a way better home crowd (reminds me of Sactown a decade ago), a much better supporting cast for its scoring stars, and the last two closeout opportunities at home consecutively in games 6 and 7.  They are also young, energetic, and lack psychological scars from past failures.  On the other hand, Miami has an unproven and rather mediocre head coach, struggled against what should have been an easy Eastern Conference with Derrick Rose out, and have the demons of last season's failures hovering over them always.

And with all that, I'm picking..... the Heat in 7.  I don't have any real reason except to say that this Lebron's third Finals and with the way he's been playing this season and these playoffs, its hard to see him losing another.  He destroyed the Celtics in Boston in Game 6 to banish everyone's memories from his embarrassing lay-down in his last game as a Cavalier.  Now after a year of thinking about his 4th quarter performances vs Dallas, he's finally got a chance to do something about it.

I, along with the rest of America, want to see the Thunder take this thing.  However, its not for the hatred of the Heat that is so popular these days.  I don't care that Lebron, Wade and Bosh conspired to join forces here.  I don't have a problem with these 3 men, none of whom are criminal scourges of society, took pay cuts to play together.  Lebron and Bosh had toiled alone for years and help wasn't coming soon.  Obviously, Lebron could have done it in a classier fashion than "The Decision", and they could have avoided the pyrotechnic introductory conference, but the move itself was their right, and possibly even applaudable.  Do we, as sports fans who love to see greatness, wish Lebron could have done it in Cleveland like Jordan in Chicago, Magic in LA or Bird in Boston?  Sure.  But hating him for moving?  Nah, I'd rather hate Kobe, for just being his jerk-self here in LA.  In fact, after the Heat's shocking loss last year, I'm glad they at least had to have earned it, if they should finish the job.  Either way, here's hoping for an epic 7 game series.

But, the reasons I'm supporting the Thunder are simply:
1) Durant is the most likeable, anti-modern-day-ego, anti-Kobe, superstar we've had since Tim Duncan.
2) Oklahoma City represents the model small town franchise, anti-big city (LA Lakers) with all its inherent advantages.

and of paramount importance:
3) Russell Westbrook would be the first UCLA Alumnus NBA Allstar to win an NBA championship since Lew Alcindor.

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