In a few days the Spurs and Heat will face off in the 2014 NBA Finals, a rematch of last years thrilling matchup. The playoffs also features another rematch of sorts, this one in the BSB(R). Two longtime lunch-basketball rivals are neck-and-neck as the tourney reaches a close. Check the standings below.
There are now only two people with a chance to win it all: Joe Bubar and yours truly. Boobie leads all contestants and has the Spurs winning the Finals in 7 games–others who had the Spurs winning are too far behind to catch him. I’m one of the few with the Heat winning; if the Heat are victorious, I’ll have a chance to tie or take the lead.
Regarding the bigger picture, eight of the 24 participants in this year’s tournament correctly predicted the Finals matchup. That’s pretty darn impressive. Interestingly, none of those eight had the Heat beating the Spurs. Whatever the reason–a belief in karma, the power of revenge, or randomness–the group will either look like a collective of geniuses or irrational Heat-haters.
Conference Finals Recaps
Pacers-Heat: Indy put a scare into the Heat with a dominant home win in game one. Had the Pacers regained their swagger? It seemed like a possibility at the time, but the Heat won the next three games with relative ease. They dropped Game 5 on the road due to Paul George’s insane fourth quarter and LeBron’s worst game ever, but they dominated their closeout game at home from start to finish.
The series lacked the suspense and drama of their previous two meetings; instead, the series will be known for Lance Stephenson’s antics. Lance called out LeBron for talking trash, got fined for flopping twice, entered Miami’s huddle, blew in LeBron’s ear, committed an egregious flagrant on Norris Cole, and gave LBJ a weird face-tap. His actions might hurt his efforts in free agency, but at least they gave us some entertainment in an otherwise uneventful series.
- Hero: LeBron James
- Goat: Lance Stephenson
- Line of the series: James had 32, 10, and 5 on 13-21 FG in a dominant Game 4 victory.
Spurs-Thunder: The matchup was a bizarre rematch of the 2012 WCF. Before the series began, the world learned Serge Ibaka would have to sit the remainder of the playoffs with a calf injury. The Spurs took advantage, blowing the Thunder out the first two games and scoring in the paint at will. The Spurs had expressed skepticism regarding Ibaka’s absence, and in retrospect they were right to do so. Ibaka returned and ignited the Thunder to consecutive blowout wins over the Spurs.
With the series tied 2-2, the world deserved a return to close games and a close series. Instead, the basketball gods took a giant shit on OKC–the Spurs routed the Thunder in Game 5 and won Game 6 in an excruciating home loss for the Thunder. KD will be watching the Finals from his couch once again. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue for him until he accepts his fate and comes home to play for the Wizards.
- Hero: The San Antonio Basketball Machine
- Goat: Humanity
- Line of the series: Russell Westbrook went MJ on the world, scoring 40 points, dropping 10 assists, and getting 5 rebounds and steals, apiece in a huge Game 4 win.
What to look for in the Finals
- Will Tony Parker be healthy enough to take the court?
- Will the Heat role players come to play, and will the be healthy?
- For both teams, how will they balance going “big” vs. “small”?
- What tactics and defenders will Popovich deploy against LeBron James?
Surely there will be more to think about going into the Finals, but that’s a start. The rematch starts June 5th.
Who are your picks to win, both the Finals and the AGR tourney? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook