Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thunder/Heat Staff predictions

Johnny Hoops members Katee ForbisStephanie GabrielJefferson Santos and i talked a little bit about the 2012 NBA finals match up between The Oklahoma City Thunder and The Miami Heat.


Who are you choosing to win it all and why? 

Johnny: This is a very tough decision, i'm going with the Miami Heat in 6 games. I feel OKC will be their toughest opponent yet, but i just can't see Lebron James and Dwyane Wade losing in the finals again after last years debacle. People know i really dislike Lebron James, however, i can't deny he is on a mission this season and he will finally win his ring this year.  Miami's defense is really strong and their experience is in their favor. 

KateeOKC and it's because I think they play much better as a team than the Heat. Westbrook can be a ball hog, but they have a team that works. The Heat seem to play a more individual game.

StephanieI am choosing OKC to win it all. I want to see them sweep for personal reasons, but I can see this series going into a best-of-six or seven.

JeffersonI am choosing OKC. Despite the fact that they beat the Lakers (my team), they have shown and proved that they are definitely one of the elite basketball teams in the league. Last year, they took that heavy loss in the Playoffs by the Lakers and grew from it. Many critics doubted their ability to win and surpass the Western Conference veteran teams, but the young team proved them all wrong. 

I'm really hoping KD gets his first ring even though watching Derrick Fisher receive his 6th would be a bittersweet moment. As long as Miami Heat doesn't win, I'm good. OKC Thunder deserves it. And there are plenty of more rings to go if they keep the current roster. 

Fact or fiction, the winner of the Durant/Lebron match up will win the series. 

Johnny:  Fiction, first of all i don't think Durant will outplay James in this series,  both teams have enough firepower to depend on just one match up. Unless it's something drastic like one averaging 40 PPG and the other 15+  there's no way i see that happening though.

Katee:  Eh... fact and fiction. I know it really will be a team effort and neither of those guys can carry their team completely. However, If we are talking about clutch shots, then I think those guys will be a huge factor and I think Durant is the clear front runner in that department.

StephanieFact. We all know what happens when LeBron fails to ‘show up.’ Durant is an all-around player, especially after the Western Conference Finals. He’s known as a great offensive attribute, leading the team with 27.8 ppg and 7.9 rpg in the playoffs (15 games). Durant managed to steal game six from the San Antonio Spurs by drawing that offensive foul on Manu Ginobili in the fourth quarter. That charge taken (his first one this season) is what sparked his teammates in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.

Jefferson:  False. I don't think Durant can defend Lebron on the drive. Perhaps the post due to KD's length, but overall, LBJ is the better player. I passionately hate Lebron James, but I respect his game. And right now Kevin Durant may be the ultimate scorer in the league, but he hasn't technically stepped up as a leader of his team like Lebron has. Miami will be forever Wades team, but reports of Wade took a step back in order for James was a smart move. This is a team game, so it doesn't come down to one person. It'll definitely be a team effort by both teams. 

How can OKC win the series?  

Johnny: I'm choosing the role players, i know each team has their "big 3"  however, if Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins dominate the inside like they did in the San Antonio series, the Thunder might just win this thing. Assuming each big three cancel each other out, the role players will be the deciding factor. Look for Derek Fisher to play well as  he's really close to getting that sixth ring.

Katee:  By playing as a team and not letting Westbrook try to make it a one man show. If the coach can keep him reigned in and not taking crazy, rushed shots then I think they stand a really good chance. Also keeping an eye on Perkins who has made some costly mistakes during important plays. Perkins has to stay focused and if he isn't, they need to bench him a lot more.

Stephanie: OKC can win the series by showing up and playing their hearts out without undermining the Heat. The Heat managed to come this far, right? Their defense will need to make a statement, watch for those pump fakes and guard the perimeter. LeBron and Wade should be contested on the outside and I don’t recommend having them anywhere near the paint. Also, Russell Westbrook needs to play like Russell Westbrook. No wild shots, and take care of the ball.

JeffersonOKC can definitely win the series by using it's shooters and constant pick and rolls. The thing with OKC is that they constantly use high pick and rolls. And if the first one didn't work, they would do it again, and again, and again. Obviously, their youthful presence on the court displays outrageous energy. Shooting will also play a big part due to most of them being perimeter shooters. And lastly, the home crowd is THE BEST crowd right now in the league. Just pure electricity in the air that brings energy to the already youthful team. 

How can Miami win the series?

Johnny:  I'm picking Dwyane Wade, he has struggle in most of the playoffs games so far, he's known as being a superstar and delivering in the finals (He has deliver in both finals appearances he's been, including last season when Lebron went casper on us)  If D-Wade plays like the Wade we know, the one that takes over games and scores 25+, along with Lebron, i see Miami winning this thing for sure. Another important thing is for the Mario Chalmers, Mike Millers and Shane Battiers of the world, to keep hitting their three's.

Katee:  Of course there is the obvious point that James, Wade and Bosh all need to play incredible. Also, I think Shane Battier will be more of a factor than some may want to acknowledge. The Heat really need him to be on top of his game and scoring from the 3 point line on a consistent basis to keep up with the Thunder. I am not saying Battier will be the reason the Heat win or lose but I think how well he plays will be important to the superstars if they have an off night.

StephanieAs much as I don’t want Miami to win this series, if they can win a game in Ok City, they have a chance. Their defense needs to come out strong to deny Durant and Westbrook any chance of a comfort zone. Wade and LeBron would have to be on fire at the same time (not literally). The depth of their bench will also be tested in the Finals.

Jefferson: Not Wade, not Lebron, but Bosh. It's been clear to me and also a surprise that Wade and Lebron just don't compliment each other. With Chris Bosh being back in the lineup and hopefully starting, they'll have a better rhythm and strategy for getting a win. That doesn't mean Lebron and Wade can pass to the low post to Bosh and just watch. They have got to stay agressive and hungry. Something that stood out to me this series with Miami and Boston was in Game 6. It was the first time I have seen Lebron James have this look in his eyes that spelled trophy all over it. He was finally hungry. He needs to gain that mentality back and just focus on winning the game. Screw the opinions. Screw the hate. Screw all the negativity and think about what's happening now. Channel all that negative energy into something that will drive you to the basket and not shoot over a smaller player or pass the ball. Lebron James needs to remain hungry if he wants to win his first ring. 

Wade on the other hand, needs to remain the leader of his team and be more vocal with his team and NOT with the referees. Less complaining and let your game speak for itself. You have too much talent to complain about every single foul you commit and you don't receive. Quit bitchin' and just play to win. Get over your foul trouble and remain focused. If they all do this, they WILL win this series. 

Closing thoughts

Johnny:  This is the biggest moment of Lebon James career, he's been criticize for absolutely anything, but losing the finals and especially against a team that A) Has never been to the finals before  and B) Has a young star that some are already saying is the present of the NBA, Lebron will never heard the end of it and the media/fans are only going to make fun of him even more.

Katee:  There is a lot more pressure on the Miami Heat to prove they can close games. This OKC team is new to the finals and the Heat have been here before. If the Heat lose this series, I think we will see some players moved or even possibly see Spoelstra fired. You would think if you got your team into the finals, your job would be safe, but we know in Miami that's not guaranteed. I have said for a while now that I thought whoever won the Western Conference Finals would win it all and I still believe that. No matter the outcome though, I think this will be an exciting series to watch.

Stephanie: OKC, don’t fail me now! Oh! And I can still cheer for a Derrick, but its Derek Fisher :o)

JeffersonObviously i'm going for OKC so hopefully it all turns well. Cheers!

Follow me on Twitter @JohnnyNBA, follow Katee - @KateeForbis, Stephanie - @Sgabe12 and Jefferson @Jefferrrson and Like us on Facebook. Thanks!

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