Going into this much anticipated NBA Finals series, we all knew the potential there was to see some “small ball” lineups. Both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder are regarded as the two most athletic teams in the league. In the same sense, they are two teams that don’t have a lot of conventional size up front and/or frequent low post scoring from their bigs. With all of the above taken into consideration, both teams opt for switching on defense to keep similar size and speed matchups and avoid getting into a help and rotate situation where offenses can take advantage. Switching also helps take away lots of the pick and roll action that is so dominant in the NBA. Often times, switching every screen can stall another team’s offense, causing them to stand around and watch as one player ioslates and usually forces a tough shot (see Miami Heat’s 4th quarter in Game 1).
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It is finally upon us. The NBA Finals matchup we all wanted to see (Lakers vs. Heat being the other). The Miami Heat and The Oklahoma City Thunder will do battle on Tuesday, June 12 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. There are many internal storylines; some are subtle and others ridiculously obvious. In this post, we will attempt to look at all the interplay between these two teams and why this might be one of the best NBA Finals series we have seen in a long time.
Lebron vs. Durant
Clearly, this is the most talked about storyline in the lead up to this series. The two best players in the NBA right now will go head to head and in a couple weeks one will win a ring. This is the second year in a row in the NBA Finals for LeBron and the Heat and he surely stands to lose alot more than Durant if he should happen to fail to be victorious. The pressure is going to be at an all time high for LeBron James but so far so good this year especially after his domination of the Celtics in the last two pressurized games of that series. The Thunder pose a different challenge. LeBron will face numerous bodies that are among the league’s best defenders. Sefolosha, Harden, Westbrook, and Durant himself will surely be guarding LeBron. The Heat need continue to incorporate nice actions where LeBron receives a flex screen and cuts into the low post for a quick catch and score or mid post isolation. If “aggressive LeBron” shows up to the games in this series then he should continue to climb the ladder of immortality.