Lebron James dreamt about reaching the NBA finals when he was a kid playing for his school team at Akron, Ohio. Kevin Durant dreamed about this when he grew up playing pick up games all around the country. They finally get to realise their dreams in what could be the best matchup NBA fans have been offered till date.
This could go down as one of the best finals series ever because of the sheer talent that will be on display. If Celtics had won the series, they would have had a shot at another title but the Heat’s victory set up a match-up that was being anticipated since the start of the season.There are no fitting finalists this season apart from the Thunder and the Heat as both the teams have played some of the best basketball we have seen till date.
The Thunder juggernaut have knocked out the Mavericks, the Lakers and the Spurs; teams which have shared the Western Conference title every year since 1999-2011. They beat all of them 4-0, 4-1, 4-2 respectively and now await the Heat in the finals.
Heat have had their own problems with Chris Bosh getting injured and Dwyane Wade having a shouting match with Eric Spoelstra at the end of game 2 against the Pacers after having one of his worst play-off performances being held to 5 points in the game.
At a point, it felt like the Indiana Pacers would finish off the Heat after being 2-1 up in the series and Wade being a shadow of his usual self. But the speciality of the Heat this post season has been that every time they have been challenged they have come out strong and it showed in the drubbing James and Wade laid on the Pacers, something the Pacers could not recover from, effectively losing the series 4-2.
Then came the Boston Celtics which have been the thorn on James side for quite a few years now. It was sort of a last stand for the Boston Celtics as Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were in the last year of their contracts. The series offered some of the best performances in playoff games with Rajon Rondo’s 44 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds performance in a losing effort in game 2 and Lebron James’s monstrous 45 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists performance in game 6 to avoid elimination.
This has been a historic play-off series for Lebron James. His stats say it all: 33.6 points per game, 11 rebounds per game, 53 percent shooting, six 30-point games, five 30-point/10-rebound games, a 45-point elimination game on the road and a 11-point fourth quarter to finish off a 31-point, 12-rebound effort in the first Game 7 victory of his career.
And now it all comes down to this. It’s the Thunder juggernaut against the Miami Heat. The current MVP against the runner up. Kevin Durant and Lebron James have had some iconic tussles in their previous match-ups. For the basketball die hards, there happened to be a pick up game during the lock out in which Lebron and Durant played against each other in the summer league, a match where Durant’s team lost but he scored 59 points and Lebron scored 38. What made the match interesting was James guarded Durant almost the entire game and gave us a sneak peek of what could happen when these teams meet in the Finals in two days time.
It will be Lebron James’s exceptional defense against Kevin Durant’s prolific unstoppable offense; Dwayne “FLASH” Wade against the Blitzkrieg that is Russell Westbrook. It will be Wade and James’s drives and alley oops against the monster presence of Serge Ibaka in the paint. The list goes on and on.
For James, it is his second straight Finals trip after a crushing defeat to Mavericks last year and a chance to get that illusive first ring that will silence his doubters for good. For Thunder, it is a chance to make history and permanently cement their place as a dynasty in the making. The Thunder have defied conventional odds since the very beginning. Some people say they are the boys in a grown man’s league and that championships are won by veterans, not by up-and-comers. Whether they are right or wrong, we will get to know soon enough.
This might well be a preview of the years to come. Heat and Thunder could very well become dynasties in their own right and this rivalry might take the shape of the likes of Lakers vs Celtics or Bulls vs Jazz of the 1990′s.
So let’s sit back and watch as the two best players in the league take on each other, with the biggest prize at stake because as they say about the finals, “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE”.