I have been very busy with things that are going on in my life, and I’ll get to it the minute things become less chaotic. But while I have a few moments to spare, here is my take on both of the Conference Finals in the NBA Playoffs:
Eastern Conference Finals- Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat
For a pair of teams who have won an equal amount of games dating back to the 2011-2012 season, if anyone says this isn’t a rivalry, they’re nuts. The Indiana Pacers have been eliminated from the playoffs by the Heat in the last two playoff seasons and would like to return the favor. One would think that their home court advantage would play in their favor to make this happen; however, they have not been the team that looked so impressive since the trade deadline, as they have limped into the playoffs and struggled against an 8 seeded team Atlanta Hawks and 5 seeded Washington Wizards. Several theories have surfaced as to what caused this collapse (which I’m not going to get into at this moment). If the Pacers want to get to the Finals, they need to set aside whatever is giving them drama and play great team basketball. On the flip side of the coin, the Miami Heat are looking impressive as they have only played 9 playoff games compared to 13 for the Pacers. For a team that is looking to get to their 4th straight Finals appearance and a chance at a Three-peat, they are focused and ready for the Pacers.
The X-Factor in this match up is Roy Hibbert. Which Hibbert will show up in the series, but specifically in game 1 today? Will it be the All-Star who dominates both sides of the court or will it be the big man who struggles to get zeros off his stat sheet? That said, I’d love to see the Pacers get to the Finals and get the monkey off their back by knocking off the defending champs, but I just don’t see it happening.
Western Conference Finals- San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Now, I can’t wait for tomorrow night for this series to get started. The team with the best record in the league against the team with the league’s MVP? That’s must see tv right there. The Spurs won’t say anything regarding the severity of Tony Parker’s hamstring injury he sustained in game 5 against the Portland Trail Blazers, but he says he’ll be ready for tomorrow night. We’ll see how much he’ll be able to play and if he’s 100%. Even with his absence, the other guys in the roster stepped up and played system basketball by contributing and making the scoring very balanced, which is scary for the opposition team when preparing for certain defensive match ups. They have to prepare for them all. For the Thunder, who will have to carry on without Serge Ibaka due to injury. He was the defensive juggernaut in the paint that I nicknamed “Serge I-block-ya” because it seemed that he would would contest every shot taken in the paint and block a good amount of them. How will they adjust their line up without him is something I’m going to keep my eye on. I know the Thunder have the MVP in Kevin Durant as well as Westbrook and a few other players who can light it up, but in a seven game series, I’m taking the Spurs to make it back to the NBA Finals.