Ah, terrific NBA Finals matchup. Very excited about this matchup.
I think we are going to get a chance to see the best NBA Finals in at least the last 10-15 years.
Not only that but we have a marquee head-to-head matchup with Kevin Durant against LeBron James. Those two guys were pretty much the consensus #2 and #1 choice for MVP respectively. We haven’t had a head-to-head matchup like this since Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal in 1995. Magnificent.
I am expecting this to be a very close series that goes six or seven games. I am expecting Oklahoma to win the series with Durant claiming a Finals MVP. I think the Thunder just have that little bit more about them than Miami.
As for the series, I expect Miami to stay small (with Battier in there instead of a second big man) in an effort to score effectively against Oklahoma’s defense. The Thunder will react in kind with Durant at PF, likely alongside Ibaka or Collison, with their two scorers on the perimeter alongside Thabo or Fisher. So both teams should be very attack minded and will look to score a lot of points. I wouldn’t surprised if we saw a lot of 100-110 type scorelines in these Finals which will be a nice change. Furthermore, as a consequence of these small ball lineups and the more vulnerable interior defenses that they create, I expect each of the big name players to have big series’.
Kevin Durant will be defended by one of the best defensive forwards in basketball in LeBron James and also by another very talented defensive wing in Shane Battier. However, Durant has been very effective playing against both of these guys over the past two seasons so I don’t expect them to be able to slow him down much.
If Miami go big and play Bosh at PF alongside a second big man, I think that benefits Oklahoma. I think they can score, mainly with Durant and Harden, more effectively against Miami’s defense than Miami can against OKC’s halfcourt defense with Perk + Ibaka in there protecting the paint.
On Perkins for one moment, if Miami as expected retain their small-ball lineup, I’d love to see Scotty Brooks move Perk to the bench in favour of Nick Collison. Collison will give them more quickness and mobility defensively to play against those pick and roll games + Bosh’s face up game. Perk will be more effective against Miami’s backup big men (Haslem, J.Anthony, Turiaf) and should get playing time there.
I reason I am picking the Thunder to win is because I prefer their Big Four (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka) to Miami’s Big Three (LeBron, Wade, Bosh) and I think they just have that bit more balance to them as a team. Oklahoma has more of a supporting cast but Miami might be able to limit Perk’s impact and even that up. In the end, I think it’ll be the stars that decide this and I expect Durant’s star to shine brightest.