Point/Counterpoint: Who will win the NBA Championship — The Miami Heat, or the Oklahoma City Thunder?

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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Oklahoma City Thunder

Miami scores a lot of points, it has a lot of big names, and it is the undeniable favorite to repeat as NBA champion. But something else that is going to repeat is a matchup with Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals. And this time, the Thunder come out on top.

Here’s why: The Thunder are a much more well-rounded team, and their only downfall this season has been their all-star point guard, Russell “I shoot every time I can” Westbrook. During the regular season, Westbrook shot the ball 18.7 times per game, compared with Kevin Durant’s 17.7 per game.
How can one team have the three-time NBA scoring champion and have him take the second most shots on his own team?

The Heat are really good, don’t get me wrong; however, they have flaws that most people overlook. They can’t rebound to save their lives. They were statistically the worst rebounding team in the league, yes, worse than THE BOBCATS.  Oklahoma City was sixth in the league in rebounding.

If Westbrook just passes the ball, the Thunder will take down the Heat. Durant is a pure scorer, and he can lead the Thunder to the Promised Land, but only if Westbrook will move his ego out of the way and pass him the rock.

The whole point of this luxurious argument is who will have the best chance to beat the Heat. The true answer is nobody will beat them, but Oklahoma City has the best chance to do so.

Oh, yeah, the Thunder beat the 8th-seeded Rockets by 29 to take a 1-0 series lead, while the Heat took care of the 8th-seeded Milwaukee to lead their series 1-0. They’ll meet after each team wins 11 more games.  Stay tuned.

— by Nick Delaquila

Miami Heat

Let’s look at some facts.

Miami won 66 games this season to earn the top overall seed in the playoffs. It was the only team to earn wins against every NBA team, and their 27-game winning streak is the second-longest in league history. LeBron James is undoubtedly the league MVP for the second year in a row and fourth time in the last five years.

And that’s without mentioning that basically every component of their championship team from last year has returned, along with the addition of Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and Chris Andersen. With that in mind, why would anyone pick against Miami in a seven-game series?

Miami has lost four games since a Jan. 27 loss to the Celtics in Boston. One of those losses came against the Knicks on a night when Carmelo scored 50, and Mike Miller started at shooting guard for the Heat. Another came against a Bull squad that may not even beat Brooklyn.

Yes, the playoffs are a different animal, filled with teams playing with emotion. But let’s look at this realistically: the Heat probably won’t be tested truly until the Eastern Conference Final. Maybe even THE Finals. The improved Knicks (if they even make it to the conference final) don’t have a fraction of the Heat’s playoff experience. Carmelo has won two playoff games with the Knicks, and not even 20 of his 50-plus playoff games.

Sure, Oklahoma City has the best record in a strong Western Conference, but the Thunder gave away any opportunity of beating the Heat when they traded James Harden to the Rockets. Although not having Harden choke on the biggest stage may be an advantage, the Heat have had the Thunder’s number all season.

If people honestly think the Heat will lose a playoff series, they must not watch much basketball.
Or, they’re just angry Bull fans.

— by Matt Cabel

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