By a few flicks of Kevin Durant’s wrist and the will of LeBron James, young has dispatched old to reach the NBA Finals.
The aged guard, represented by the guile and grit of the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, has given way to the whirlwind and wonderment provided by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat.
Breaks will be fast and rims will be protected over the course of these Finals, where talent will clash with talent in a series many predicted would take place before the season. NBA commissioner David Stern is surely satisfied with the final pairing, as television ratings will sky as high as a Russell Westbrook bound to the bucket or a Dwayne Wade block attempt.
Many will fixate on the collective scoring ability of the appropriately named Thunder and Heat; their combined offensive prowess will feature above-the-basket fury and a pace of play that will leave the court sizzling. But only the naive observer will fall victim to the offensive fireworks.
Basketball is a two-way game and these two teams are the best when it comes to ruining good looks and sealing off the passing lanes. The numbers suggest the Thunder and Heat were fourth and eighth respectively in opponents’ adjusted field goal percentage during the regular season, but anyone who watched the Oklahoma City and Miami challenge, contest and corral their opponents in their respective conference finals knows defense is priority one for the Finalists.
The series also presents James with the opportunity to complete his year-long reclamation project. The MVP has dominated on the court all season, but seems to have narrowed his focus off the hardwood. James hasn’t tweeted since April 27 — the day before the playoffs began — and has reportedly toned down his previously borderline chauvinistic personality. He proposed to his longtime girlfriend with whom he has two sons, Savannah Brinson, this past New Year’s Eve — coincidentally a day after James’ 27th birthday.
So will the self-anointed but yet to be crowned King finally win his elusive first title?