February 10, 2014 by Ell and Mike Sports
NBA Championship Predictions
Ell – Pacers vs. Spurs Winner: Pacers in 6
The Pacers have proved enough in my opinion that they should be ready to beat the Heat this season in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers have been one of the best defensive teams in the league and SF/SG Paul George has been an absolute star this season continuing off of last year’s postseason play. They have done a great job of improving their bench with PG C.J. Watson, SF Chris Copeland, PF Louis Scola, the return of SF Danny Granger, and the late addition of C Andrew Bynum is another factor for the playoffs. SG Lance Stephenson has improved this season as a more consistent scoring threat, a better rebounder, and better passer this season which should help take the load off of George and PF David West.
The Spurs continue to be one of the best in the West with a deep lineup build around their Big 3. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili continue to play at a high level while free agent addition SG Marco Belinelli will help knock down clutch 3’s to get them to the big game. While Duncan on West, Parker on Hill, Leonard on George, and Splitter on Hibbert makes sense, I think the growth of Stephenson will show as he overpowers Ginobili who has been hurt this season. Even the high scoring ability of SG Danny Green and the versatile game of C Boris Diaw, will not be enough to stop the explosive Pacers bench especially with the addition of Bynum who can provide quality big man minutes and Granger playing a lesser role while he continues to regain form.
Mike – Heat vs. Thunder Winners: Heat in 6
Let’s be honest here, the West is loaded with teams that could make the finals. It all comes down to who is playing the best ball at the right time in the West. While in the East, there are only two teams you can consider title contenders, the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat. The Clippers, Spurs, and even the surprise Blazers are viable options to make the NBA Finals from the West, but my pick from the West is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have been getting a lot of attention lately because of Durant’s hot play lately. One of the unsung heroes for OKC has been PF Serge Ibaka and also the Thunder bench has been playing well. Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones are second year players that are coming into their own. OKC is having this great season without one of the league’s most dynamic players, PG Russell Westbrook. When Westbrook returns, they should only be that more lethal. I believe that the Thunder have all it takes this year to win the championship.
Now the East is nowhere as good of a conference as the West is, but the Heat and Pacers are two of the NBA’s best. It’s not a matter of if these two will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s just a matter of when. I’ll keep that section short and sweet. I believe the Heat will beat Indiana in six and meet the Thunder in the Finals for a 2012 finals rematch. To me, the Thunder have become a better team since then while Durant and Ibaka have expanded, but with Lebron and a healthy Dwade in the finals, I can’t see ANY team beating the Heat 4 out of 7 games.