And then there were 2.
It’s a rematch of the 2012-13 NBA Finals, with the only difference being the team holding home-court resides in the West.
Before I breakdown what I see happening, let’s look back to what went down in the Conference Finals.
Eastern Conference Finals
(2) Miami Heat vs (1) Indiana Pacers
- For a team that worked very hard to get home-court advantage, the Pacers looked like they forgot the goal is to WIN in the playoffs. After making things tough on themselves in the 1st two rounds, Indiana was out of this before it started. Sure they forced it to 6 games, but even in wins they didn’t look impressive. Lance Stephenson became a distraction unable to back up his words. Roy Hibbert finished the playoffs with 4 games where he didn’t score. The defense wasn’t up to their normal standards and turnovers continued to plague them. Oh and the Miami Heat have LeBron James. And Dwyane Wade. And Chris Bosh. And they know how to win, at home AND on the road. It’s pretty simple.
Western Conference Finals
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (1) San Antonio Spurs
- This was the story of holding home-court. Blowouts for the home teams is how the first 5 games went. You can argue Serge Ibaka going down for games 1 and 2 turned the series in San Antonio’s favor, and it sure helped, but he did return to get it back to a place where OKC had home-court again, and a chance to advance tied 2-2. But the Thunder defense was not good, Kevin Durant was exposed and they didn’t get help off the bench. The Spurs bench can hurt you in so many ways, and they proved it in the clincher when Tony Parker went down and a guy like Boris Diaw helped close out Oklahoma City in overtime. Oh and Tim Duncan thinks he’s 30 again. That helps.
(2) Miami Heat vs (1) San Antonio Spurs
- Here we are. A rematch of last seasons NBA Finals. The Spurs looked to have the championship in the bag late in game 6. Then everything went right for the Heat, including a game winning Ray Allen 3. A game 7 win sealed Miami’s 2nd straight championship. And now it’s the question of dynasty or revenge: which will be the ultimate headline? On the one hand, with how easy it was for the Heat to get out of a very down Eastern Conference, you’d think it’s got to be then. And on the other, you’ve got the Spurs who finished with the best record in the league, making their way out of a stacked West. They’ve proven themselves against the top teams this year, while Miami has bested the West’s best the past two years. So which do I think comes to pass? Revenge is a dish best served on the games biggest stage. Give me the Spurs. I said all along that the Thunder would win it all, but if OKC didn’t make it to the finals, that I’d take the West representative. San Antonio has been consistently great for nearly 2 decades. Yes, Tony Parker is questionable with an ankle injury (boy do ankles HATE point guards huh?), but knowing him and the Spurs way, if he can put any kind of pressure on it, he’s on that court. That heart, plus the depth of San Antonio vs the Heat depth, is the advantage I give the Spurs. I know, I know. LeBron James is the best basketball on the planet. I’m still going with the Spurs in 7. Final answer.
Now tell me if you agree with the team I think is hanging another banner!
7 games again. We deserve it as fans. Stretches of this season were dull and after a great 1st round of the playoffs, the best game was Spurs/Thunder game 6. This fairly predictable finals match-up dictates high drama every game. We want, and I believe we will get, at least 6 hotly contested games. No more of this home team blowout non-sense. Big 3s, defense and two of the best to ever play the game (James and Tim Duncan), trying to add another ring to their legacies. These are two fantastic organizations, and I cannot wait til Thursday in San Antonio, the site of game 1.
Enjoy it NBA fans. Enjoy it sports fans. Just enjoy.