NBA Conference Finals Predictions

After all the thoughts that we might get a surprise Conference finalist (Wizards, Clippers), nope.  We have the four that everyone expected from the start of the season.  That’s not a huge problem though.  Remember, a lot of people expected that the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs would play in the 2013 Finals last year, and that brought us Games 6 and 7, which were tremendous.  Let’s not confuse predictability with a bad product.
Here are the picks:

Miami Heat (-370) over Indiana Pacers (+310) in 6.

There are a few schools of thought with this one:
1) The Pacers took the Heat to 7 last year, and the Heat are probably not as good as last year.  LeBron is still an alien, but Dwyane Wade is older, and basically took time off this year just to make sure he could play in May and June, which doesn’t exactly scream durability.  Also, the Pacers have home court this time around, and, even though players will always say this, the Indiana roster said that they felt that home court made a big difference in 2013.  The Pacers take it.
2) Yeah, but these aren’t the 2013 Pacers, either.  This is the team that seems to be having internal issues, and this is a team who has no idea if its $14 million center, Roy Hibbert, will show up.  The Pacers from February 2013 to February 2014 would win this series, but those Pacers don’t exist anymore.  The Heat win an easy series.
3)  Something in the middle.  Which is what I’m choosing.  The Heat aren’t as good as last year, but the Pacers just don’t have the chops to beat them.  This series will be one of the few times that the cliche of mental toughness actually does play as big of a difference as the talking heads say, and that’s Indiana’s biggest weakness.  And they’re going up against the Eastern Conference Champs of 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Pretty big mental edge there.  That being said, Indy keeps it somewhat close, and the Heat have to wait until they’re back home in Game 6 to pull it out…
That being said, if Indy wins that Game 6 (I’m fully expecting the Heat to be up 3-2 after 5), then it’s probably 50-50 in Game 7.  Actually, maybe not, since Miami has a guy named “LeBron.”  But if it’s tied after 6, it would shock nobody if Indy wins.

San Antonio Spurs (-215) over Oklahoma City Thunder (+185) in 5.

The Thunder don’t have James Harden.

The Thunder don’t have James Harden.

The Thunder don’t have James Harden.

Is that enough analysis?  Fine, I’ll keep going.
If you can’t tell, I think that James Harden would make a huge difference for OKC, and the team’s management should still be kicking themselves over that one for years to come.  The Thunder are one-dimensional on offense, especially if Westbrook is having one of his trainwreck games.  Gregg Popovich’s defense kind of does well against teams that don’t have much to fall back on offensively.  Yes, a guy like Reggie Jackson could step up for the Thunder, but please.  The Spurs invented the “Getting random players to play well when the superstars are covered” game.  That’s like trying to get a ridiculous treasure chest of draft picks for the price of one late first round pick better than Bill Belichick does.  He can’t be beaten, just like Gregg Popocivh won’t be beaten with that Reggie Jackson BS.

 

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