April 4, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) in the fourth period at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Roundhouse: Heat, Thunder Prepare for Finals Showdown

We made it, guys! We finally reached the NBA Finals, and we have a great matchup in store for us. We’ll get to that in a minute, but first we have to cover the climactic game seven between the Celtics and the Heat.

Miami Heat 101, Boston Celtics 88: Heat win series 4-3

June 9, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh (1) celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Boston Celtics in game seven of the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference finals at the American Airlines Arena. The Heat defeated the Celtics 101-88. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Lots of things to cover here. First of all, the NBA has to be pretty thrilled at how everything turned out. Game seven recorded the single highest non-football overnight rating in the history of ESPN. So even though they missed out on an epic Bulls-Heat slugfest, this Heat-Celtics slugfest turned out pretty well. Hell, it wasn’t even a slugfest the whole time. Games two, five and seven were incredibly compelling and games two and six featured two of the more spectacular individual performances in the entire playoffs.

Furthermore, the Finals matchup we got is probably about as good as it gets. Heat vs. Thunder is compelling and a very even matchup. The Thunder have a major matchup advantage in Russell Westbrook, and the Heat have one of their own in Chris Bosh. LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade vs. James Harden are something of a wash, at least in theory.

Whoops, sorry, getting ahead of myself. Back to game seven. The game itself was excellent. Boston came out and shocked everyone by taking a seven-point lead into halftime. Things looked bad for the Heat, but a major turnaround took place in the second half. The Celtics came out and just looked tired and by the end of the quarter the game was tied.

The fourth quarter was pretty similar, except worse. It was close for a while, but then the Celtics went cold and LeBron and Wade and Bosh started doing LeBron and Wade and Bosh things, and that was that. LeBron finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds, Wade had 23-6-6 and Bosh had 19 points and 8 rebounds off the bench.

On the other side, Rajon Rondo had another triple-double with 22-10-14 and the entire starting lineup scored in double figures, but they got exactly two points from the bench (from Ryan Hollins of all people) and their aged Big Three just couldn’t keep it going. The Celtics are dead. Long live the Celtics.

So. Back to the Finals. This series is going to — actually it already has been if we’re being honest — get turned into a referendum on a Durant vs. LeBron debate that is already stupid and is about to get stupider. Given that there is a surprisingly large sect of people who believe that Durant is better than LeBron (note: he’s not, nor is it close), an OKC title would be seized upon as empirical evidence of KD’s superiority. I might have to quit Twitter once that gets started.

On the other hand, if LeBron wins the title, a lot of people are going to be forced to face the fact that he’s the best player in the league and that he can, in fact, win titles. Of course, that also means that we’re going to get a lot of crap about how “he can’t win without Wade” and how he rode the Big Three’s coattails to victory. I might have to quit Twitter once that gets started also.

So basically, this series is going to be amazing, the basketball will be fascinating…and the aftermath is going to be unbearable. But for now, I’m extremely excited. Let’s do it!

(My predictions have generally been terrible this year, but I’ll go with Heat in 6, I guess. Wait, no, Thunder in 7. Screw it. I’ll be wrong anyway.)

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