NBA Finals Preview: Lebron vs Durant
Elgin Baylor, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing…Lebron James. What do all of these names have in common? They all have had Hall of Fame careers, but always fell just short of that elusive NBA Championship. Lebron James has a chance to remove his name from this list as he makes his 3rd trip to the NBA Finals and second in as many years. The 2012 NBA Finals has one of the most exciting matchups of all time, featuring the most hated man in basketball versus one of the most loved. Lebron James and Kevin Durant are headlining what is sure to be an epic duel of good vs evil.
The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder make their way to the NBA’s biggest stage having traveled completely different paths. OKC, formally the Seattle Supersonics, drafted Durant back in 2007 and spent years building around him to find the proper championship fit. The Miami Heat drafted Dwayne Wade back in 2003 and followed the New York Yankees philosophy of “if you can’t beat them, buy them,” to get their championship squad. Regardless of how they got there, we have a great matchup to watch over these next 2 weeks. Both of these powerhouse teams finished 2nd in their respective conferences, but were the favorites from most to make it to the big dance.
Even though they are playing in the same series, the pressures for both teams are on totally different levels. For Oklahoma City, this is the first trip to the Finals for pretty much everyone outside of role-playing center Kendrick Perkins and long time veteran back up point guard, Derrick Fisher. As for Miami, this is their second consecutive trip to the Finals and if you ask anyone in the organization I can assure you that they are playing by the mantra “win or the season is a failure.” OKC is bringing the 3rd best offense in the NBA this season to the Finals to matchup against the 4th most stingy team when it comes to giving up points. Miami, or should I say Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, bring a level of intensity on defense that they will need every second of each 48 minute game just to stay in contention with OKC. The Thunder lack the defensive abilities that the Heat portray, but more than make up for it by draining shots from pretty much anywhere.
This might be an NBA Finals matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, but the world will be paying much more attention to a very specific battle…”The Durantula” vs. “The King.” The 3-time NBA MVP, Lebron James, and the 3-time scoring champion, Kevin Durant will fight for the most coveted award in basketball. I can assure you that either one of these players would sacrifice all of their previous accolades to get their hands on that 14.5 pound sterling silver hardware with a 24-karat gold overlay. Lebron, who turned the whole state of Ohio as well as most of America against him as he decided to bring his “talents to South Beach,” has more to prove than anyone. James’ birth certificate might say he is 27, but his receding hairline that requires a double headband to cover it up, says that he is closer to 60. Over the past 2 years since joining Miami, James has suffered through more high pressure situations than former president George W. Bush would in a Boggle tournament.
Like many others, I have given Lebron James and the rest of the Miami Heat a hard time throughout this season and there really is only one way they can all shut me up…WIN! The mightier pressure might be on Miami but my pick is OKC in a thrilling 7 games. Let me know if you agree or not.