“I want it NOW!”

What I love most about the 2012 NBA Finals match-up is the amount of youth and star power on each side. These two factors make it difficult for the so-called experts to write either team off in their ability to win it all.

As much as I would’ve loved to see the fiesty veteran Boston Celtics in the Finals for one final run, this is the match-up that the NBA desperately needed. And even more, it’s a match-up that any basketball fan can get excited about. It’s not like the NFL, where the majority of the time the best players on opposing teams will never actually face off. It would be exciting to go to an Eagles-Saints football game, but it’s not like you’re seeing Drew Brees and Michael Vick line up across from one another. The NBA gives you that luxury, and we should get a hefty dose of it. KEVEN DURANT vs LEBRON JAMES. RUSSELL WESTBROOK vs DWAYNE WADE. CHRIS BOSH vs SERG IBAKA. JAMES HARDEN vs THE HEAT BENCH. Mano e Mano.

So who wins? Who will find a way to will their team to the 1st NBA Title for many of these stars? Here are my COUCH SPORTS EXPERT Game-by-Game Predictions.

GAME 1: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (105-94)

We all know the outcome, but I should get credit for calling this one at the start. Oklahoma City has been the most electrifying city throughout these playoffs. They have been a “6th man” on the court for a team that has gone unblemished at home. With this being the game that the teams would have to find the others’ strengths and weaknesses, I give the HOME team the advantage.

GAME 2: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

I think both teams will have a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish offensively and defensively. Both teams will adjust from Game 1, and try to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes. The difference maker will be the plan that each coach goes forward with. Thunder Coach Scott Brooks started game 1 with his defensive star, Thabo Sefolosha, on Dwayne Wade, but later moved him to LeBron James. This move proved to be the difference maker in Game 1, and will be in the rest of the series. I cannot see Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra getting away from the only plan he ever goes into a game with: Give LeBron the ball, and pray he makes a great shot on offense, and stick LeBron on the opposing team’s best player on defense. That plan won’t be enough to get them the “W”.

GAME 3: MIAMI HEAT

Oklahoma City tends to have games where they (everyone excluding Durant)come out thinking they are all Michael Jordan and can hit everything they throw up. We saw this in the last series against San Antonio. The Thunder will fall down by double-digits and make a late run in the 2nd half. Down 2-0, and returning home, I think LeBron has another game where he is completely dialed in. OKC will make it a close, grind-it-out game late, but Miami wins it by 3 or less.

GAME 4: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

The key word to the Thunder’s success this postseason has been ADJUSTMENTS. Offensively and defensively, this team has shown the ability to learn from their mistakes time and time again. I think they come into this game with “Sixth Man” James Harden finally joining the series after two mediocre games, I think they will have too many weapons for Miami. Plus, at this point, I think Wade will still be putting out 18 points a night, which will be way below what they need from him.

GAME 5: MIAMI HEAT

If you are keeping track, I have OKC up 3-1 at this point. Closing out teams is one of the hardest things to do in sports. Just look at the Texas Rangers and L.A. Kings. In their closeout game against the Spurs, the Thunder went into halftime down 18 points. I think they go into this elimination game trying a little too hard to deliver that “knockout blow” to a team who is more than capable of going on quick, effective runs. I think point guard Russell Westbrook tries to do a little too much late in the game, and they fall short.

GAME 6: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Game 6, series favors Oklahoma City, 3-2. At this point, the Thunder will still be undefeated at home. That home crowd will be electrifying. I think LeBron James does all he can do to keep his team in it, but I expect him to be going up against too much. I think Russell Westbrook takes enough criticism from his Game 5 performance, that he is determined to be a setup man, and only attack when needed. Serg Ibaka and James Harden cause problems for the Heat in the first three quarters, and the fourth becomes Durant time.

 

How do you see this series playing out? Send me your Game-by-Game predictions below.

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