Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder will take on LeBron James and… (David Santiago / El Nuevo…)
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss who will be the winner of the upcoming NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Thunder in six. If Chris Bosh was fully healthy, there might be an issue of overall talent. But with Bosh still working his way back from the lower-abdominal strain that had him out for three weeks, the Thunder simply come from too many directions with too many weapons.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would have to be at the absolute top of their games. The Thunder are young, athletic, long and talented. And that would appear to be too much to overcome.
Unless. Unless Bosh proves he's all the way back, in which case a Heat emergence certainly is within the realm of possibility, as is a championship celebration down Biscayne Boulevard.
The Thunder are coming off a confidence-inspiring showing in the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, while the Heat are coming off a matter of survival against the Celtics. You have to wonder how much is left in the tank with Erik Spoelstra playing such a tight rotation.
[Updated at 12:33 p.m.:
Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times
It's a tantalizing Finals showdown of: Big Threes, one organic, one manufactured; three-timers, a scoring champ and a MVP; and collars, blue and popped. The Thunder has a better bench (James Harden, largely); better coach (Scott Brooks' adjustments dramatically reversed the Spurs' 2-0 Western Conference series lead); better legs (its top four scorers are sub-24); and a better defense (Thabo Sefolosha on the outside, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins on the inside).
OKC also has (a crazy loud) home-court advantage and just plowed through 10 of the last 13 NBA champs (the Lakers, Mavericks and Spurs). These guys are ready.
LeBron James is playing on an atmospheric level -- Skip Bayless still doesn’t care -- but his third chance at a ring will be a repeat of the previous two. Sonics, err, Thunder in six.
Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel
They certainly won't be a popular champion, but it's as though they've been playing against the world from the start anyway.
LeBron James and company will not be denied this time.
They're beyond hungry after losing in the NBA Finals to Dallas last season. They are so desperate to remove this boom-or-bust burden that they'll play with an edge the young Thunder can't comprehend yet.
Oklahoma City has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but hasn't played in a Finals yet. Dwyane Wade has a ring, and LeBron twice lost chances to be sized for one.
Miami has the experience, and Chris Bosh is back. The Heat's title blueprint is on the line as is LeBron's reputation. Heat in six.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
Size wins in the playoffs. Home-court advantage doesn't hurt either. And a solid point guard? Check, please.
As much as this felt like the Miami Heat's year, the Oklahoma City Thunder will win the NBA Finals in six or seven games. Their frontcourt length eventually will overpower the Heat's lack thereof, especially because the star power is just about even. LeBron James is on a mission, as his sterling performances in Game 6 and Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals proved. And he will be dominant in this series.
But the Heat's biggest weaknesses are point guard and frontcourt size. Russell Westbrook will dazzle. And Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison will do the dirty work up front. Throw in the wild card that is James Harden and the long-armed defense of Thabo Sefolosha and the Thunder will be celebrating on the home floor.]