Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NBA FINALS Game 1 The time is NOW!

There time is NOW

By Mike McClendon
With the world watching and the weight of a team on their backs LeBron James and Kevin Durant don't necessarily have to prove a thing to anybody, win or lose. You might say I'm a fool to say that but let me explain. The expectations for these 2012 NBA Finals are, to me, too high. The world expects Magic vs. Bird, Jordan vs. Magic, Bird vs. Jordan, or Jordan vs. Magic and we will be disappointed if we don't get those type of performances. To be honest we haven't seen any finals like those of the 80's or 90's since then so don't expect it.

These two teams are stacked with more talent than a few NBA teams combined (Bobcats, Bucks and Raptors to name a few) and even though KD and Mr. James are the two best players on the court at all times they can have faith and rely on others to help carry that load. The main difference between the two Superstars will be who will have that drive, determination and will to win when it is needed the most? We can talk about who is clutch and who chokes all day but at the end of the day Mr. James is a 3-time League MVP and KD is a consistent scoring Champ both are clutch to the game of basketball.

3 The Hard Way

With all eyes on the two main attractions anybody who watches the game of basketball knows that the key to this series will be the sidekicks. OKC has the youthful and at times unattainable, unattractive, and unconscious combo cheese and crackers eating guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The "Heatles" counter that with oh so soft Chris Bosh and Americas favorite super hero Flash, that was a joke. I would however like to say that D.Wade is a vital part to the "Heatles" success. If he doesn't stay in the flow of the game and be aggressive he will get lost in the sauce that is the NBA Finals. Bosh showed life in Game 7 of the ECF and was pretty consistent in his play during last years finals and this years playoff run. OKC will rely on the stubborn like a bulldog point guard, Westbrook, to give not only a scoring effort but a defensive one as well. He must play better on the defensive end than he did against Tony Parker of the Spurs in the WCF. The other key participant in these Finals will be the loved and hated James Harden. The beard is a blog by itself so I won't go there but what I will say is that if Harden can continue to perform and be aggressive like he has been all playoffs than the "Heatles" are in trouble. Harden is the best 4th quaarter scorer off the bench and gets to the charity stripe like it's a free lap dance. The kid means business.
Who will reign as King
Game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight as we all know will be important to both teams but to me it means more to the road team which is the "Heatles". With the 2-3-2 format the team with the 3 games at home cannot get swept in any of the 2 games on the road. Miami can set a tone and show the young fellas of OKC what it feels like to be in the NBA Finals with a win tonight. I think Miami can and will do that tonight but only because OKC may not be ready for this stage tonight. I think if KD sets the tone early and the rest of the firing squad follows than OKC wins, but only if KD in firing first. Sit back relax and let's take this ride on the NBA Finals coaster!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Heat, Thunder, NBA Finals... Get Used To IT...

By Haz Bey

We are all "Witnesses" (no pun intended Bron-Bron) to this historical event.  A new era in the NBA is starting right before our eyes.  With Kobe's Lakers & Duncan's Spurs out the Finals for back-to-back seasons for the first time since  MJ's Bulls had the league on smash, the NBA has a match-up of teams led by true elite talents.  LeBron James, Kevin Durant & Dwyane Wade are arguably the 3 of the 4 best players in the league.  With Kobe Bryant, while still playing at a elite level, on the downside of his career, the torch that represents the league's best player must be passed.  LeBron & D-Wade are leading the Miami Heat back to the Finals for a second year in a row after blowing a 2-1 lead to the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks, while Kevin Durant with the help of rising stars Russell Wesbrook & James Harden making a historic run to the Finals by eliminating the Mavs, Lakers & Spurs.  Winners of 10 of the last 13 NBA Finals since 1998.

All of the attention will surround around the match-up between 3-time league MVP LeBron James & reigning 3-time scoring champ Kevin Durant.  The last few times such elite talent squared off for the world championship was in 2008 & 2010 when Kobe's Lakers faced off against the Big 3 now Big 4 of Boston, 2001 when Shaq & Kobe's Lakers ousted Allen Iverson's 76ers in 5 games, The Bulls match up with Magic's Lakers, Barkley's Suns & Stockton & Malone's Jazz in the 90's & Hakeem's Rockets sweeping Shaq & Penny's Orlando Magic in 1995.  But to understand the magnitude of how significant this years Finals match-up between the Heat & the Thunder, we  have to go back to the years 1984-1987 when the Larry Bird's Celtics faced off with Magic Johnson's Lakers for 3 memorable series that made the NBA what it is today.  Magic & Larry were considered the two best players in the league and their legendary match-ups settled the question on who was better between the two.  Magic's Lakers won 2 of 3 Finals series against the Celtics and forever solidifying Magic's place as the NBA's best player title over Larry Bird.  The best thing about all this is that they were able to settle it on the court.  See in the NBA, more so in every other American professional sports league, winning the ring means everything.  More so than career numbers.  When you are an elite talent in the NBA, with the right pieces around you, you should be able to win multiple championships.  Look at all the greats, MJ, Magic, Bird, Russell, Kareem, Kobe, Shaq, Wilt, Hakeem & Duncan have all won at least two titles while playing at a elite level.  Winning multiple champions doesn't happen by accident in the NBA, it happens to the flat out best players in the league.  That is what history has shown us.  This is fact people.  I love the Barkleys, Ewings, Wilkins, Iversons, Millers, Stocktons & Malones of the world, but to not have a title under your belt is a huge disappointment, but their teams got beaten year after year by team's that had better talent (mainly Michael Jordan is responsible for all, but one of the people I have listed with Shaq & Kobe handling the rest).  That is no accident.  

Fast forward back to this year's NBA Finals.  A lot of pressure is on LeBron to get his first of what should be many rings, but their is no pressure of Kevin Durant.  If LeBron loses he has to deal what a ton of scrutiny, but if Durant loses, the media will look at the fact that Kevin Durant is only 23 years old and his best years are yet to come.  On the flip-side though, whoever wins will at least for 1 season own the NBA as the league's best player, well unless, Dwyane Wade dominates the Finals like he did in 2006 (Finals MVP) and in last year's Finals for the first 4 games of series before he suffered an injury in game 5.  And let's not forget that these teams are primed to make NBA Finals appearance for the next 5 years, a rivalry like the Lakers & Celtics could be in the making, which could take the NBA to levels of excitement we haven't seen in years.