Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - To the millions - OK, thousands ...
hundreds ... maybe tens of folks? - who saw my NBA playoff predictions in this
space a few weeks ago, can you please stop laughing for a minute?
For those of you who didn't see them, and in the name of full disclosure, here
they are again:
The Miami Heat over the Boston Celtics in four games and the San Antonio Spurs
over the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven.
Hey, the Heat won, it just took a little while longer than I thought. As for
the Spurs, well, they looked good for a long time.
Now, in my defense, I've never claimed to be an NBA expert like so many do. And
every time I make a prediction, I further prove that point.
Still, not to be one to give up or say die, I can't ignore the NBA Finals
without making a selection.
(A personal note to those of you who may put a shekel or two on the outcome of
the series: whatever I predict, go the other way, it's a sure thing. Just send
me a little of your winnings and we'll keep it between ourselves. I mention
this every time I try to pick a winner of something because, well, I'm wrong a
Let's take a look at what we know, and we'll start in the West.
The Thunder just look like it's their time to win.
They knocked off the defending champs, the Dallas Mavericks, in the first round
and then took care of the Los Angeles Lakers.
And after falling behind the Spurs, who had won something like 50 straight (OK,
20), the Thunder regrouped, didn't panic and earned themselves a spot in the
Finals. Plus, they did it faster than Miami, giving them more time to rest.
Now, since they're a young team, many might feel the rest could be counter
productive, taking the momentum away and replacing it with rust.
To that, I say hogwash. Yes, it was a shortened regular season, and the Thunder
have the young legs, but a nice little break never hurts. I'd rather have the
rest than not and having it will play a factor. Now let's take a look at the
In the court of public opinion, everybody wants them to lose. They are the bad
guys and no matter how much they'll say that doesn't bother them, it does.
Nobody likes to be disliked.
They can try the "us against the world" thing, but that rings a little hollow
if you ask me.
But what really matters is the fact they've done just what they've needed to
get back to the Finals.
Tell the truth, when the Indiana Pacers had them on the ropes in the Eastern
semifinals, you thought the Heat was cooked. I know I did.
Then, when the Celtics took a series lead on them, and plenty of folks were
writing Miami's obit, you (and I) thought the Heat were done again.
But they had enough to get past the Pacers and then did the same against the
Getting Chris Bosh back, and just in time, is huge.
Bosh, in being able to make that mid-range jumper, opens up the world to LeBron
James and Dwyane Wade.
The Heat survived the early rounds with their Big Two, James and Wade, and now
Bosh gives them the Big Three back together again.
So, who wins?
I like the fact the Thunder have had some rest, and that they have the home
court advantage, but something tells me that won't be enough.
As much as I'd like to see the Thunder win, and I'm not alone since the rest of
the world wants to see the same thing, I can't go that way.
Miami was disappointed last year when it lost to the Mavs (a surprise to many),
but now, given a second opportunity, they won't let it slip away again.
The Heat take it in six.
Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several Philadelphia-
area newspapers for over 25 years.
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