The 2012 NBA Finals: Five Reasons the Thunder Will Win

Can Russell Westbrook learn to defer more to Kevin Durant in
the Finals? 
Or will Russ take more shots than KD?
  1. Momentum. This is a list of teams Oklahoma City beat: the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, the LA LAkers (2009-2010 champs), and the San Antonio Spurs (the 2003, 2005, & 2007 titlists). OKC swept the aging Mavs. They let Kobe & Co. win just one game. They stopped the Spurs' winning run and showed them the door in 6 games. Unlike Miami, which went 1-2 against Indiana and 2-3 against Boston, Oklahoma hasn't really looked vulnerable throughout these Playoffs, except going down 0-2 in the Conference Finals. And how did they respond? They beat the team with the league's best record four straight times. Yes, the Thunder are ready to win four more.
  2. Home Court. The fact of the matter is the Thunder are 8-0 at home in the 2012 Playoffs. And since four of the next seven games (and there will be seven games) will be played in OKC, this will be a big advantage. I think Miami is strong enough to steal one in Oklahoma City, but I also think the Thunder will steal one in Florida, too. Net? OKC still has more games at home, and they will really take advantage
  3. Frontline Depth. Here is where the Playoff numbers are a little deceptive. The Heat frontline (Bosh, Haslem, & Anthony) score about 23 points and grab 17 rebounds per game. In contrast, the Thunder frontcourt (Ibaka, Perkins, & Collison) average just about 18 points and 15 boards. In a series with LBJ, D-Wade, KD, and Jet Zero, however, both teams' frontlines need not do heavy lifting on the offensive end. The key is defense, which is where OKC blows Miami away. OKC's frontcourt trio blocks a little over 5 shots a game, while Miami rejects just about 2. And look at the quality of players OKC's bigs have contained: Dirk Nowizki, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Tim Duncan. 
  4. Free Throws. The Miami Heat have gotten to the line about 28 times a game in the Playoffs. They make about 72% of their shots. The Thunder get to the line about 25 times, but they are successful more than 83% of the time. This means two things: 1) Miami's interior D has to be a bit more mindful of going after every OKC drive because the Thunder have proven they're better at making those free throws, and 2) OKC's bigs can go after Miami's drives and inside stabs a bit more aggressively since Miami isn't as good in converting their charities.
  5. Championship Experience. One one hand, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem were there when Miami won its only title in 2006. On the other hand, Derek Fisher has won the big one five times. Kendrick Perkins did it with Boston in 2008. That's 6 titles. And about 9 total Finals appearances between those two guys alone. They've already displayed the kind of experience and toughness that can appropriately balance the youthful energy of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. They'll continue it against Miami.

    X-Factor: James Harden. Ibaka and Bosh should balance each one out. Same with Wade and Westbrook. Of course, LBJ and KD will duke it out as well. The key is Harden. The closest Miami's got to a fourth reliable scorer is Mario Chalmers, and he's been on-and-off so far. If Harden gets off in a big way, and does it for at least four games, then Miami's in deep trouble.

    Key Match-Up: LeBron James vs Kevin Durant. There are a host of big names in this series, but it's a no-brainer to pick this match-up as the one most people will focus on. LBJ is the regular season MVP, but I believe that whoever gets the Finals MVP plum will also lead his team to the title. Wade and Westbrook both have fair chances of winning, too, but the smart bet is either on James or Durant.

    Prediction: Thunder in 7. The 2-3-2 format is tough, especially for the higher-seeded team. There's a ton of pressure on OKC to win both home games early on so they have enough of a buffer in case things get tough in Miami. And they will get tough. I think the Thunder will take a 2-0 lead, Miami will win 2 of 3 at home and win Game 6, but, eventually, I think Oklahoma City will pull through in Game 7.

    Ultimately, I think Kevin Durant will get his first ring before LeBron James does.
    (Written by Enzo Flojo @hoopnut)

 Will the Thunder raise the Larry O'Brien trophy in two weeks?
At hoopnut, we think they will win in 7 games.
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2 Comment

I think they will hoist their Larry O'Brien in two weeks' time. Nice read sir.


Thanks so much Mr. Spotter! :) Let's go Thunder!