Heat – Thunder: A Finals Rivalry Born?



The NBA Finals kick off tomorrow night, and it should be a great series. Hardcore hoops junkies and casual fans alike should find it highly entertaining.

Both OKC & Miami play an engaging style of basketball, and there promises to be plenty of memorable moments.

There are multiple story lines:    

1) The two best basketball players in the world are squaring off (unfortunately, the World Wide Bully has figured this out too, and is shoving it down our throat).  Either LeBron James (27 yrs old) or Kevin Durant (23) will win his first championship.

Michael Jordan was 28 when he got his first ring.

LeBron has raised his already well-rounded game to another level the past few weeks. KD’s offensive prowess seems to become more diverse by the series.

2) Both teams additionally have two other All-Star caliber players – Miami with Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh; OKC with Russell Westbrook & James Harden. I’ll save you the stats overload and get to the point: Any one of the four supporting players are capable of taking over a game.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Finals MVP is someone other than LeBron or KD.

3) OKC is not only the favorite, but also has the sporting public on their side. One only has to look at their Facebook news feed or on Twitter to see the Miami Heat vitriol.

If you live outside of Miami, you want to see the Heat lose. Its been that way since Lebron & Bosh signed. I don’t really get it. I understand he could have handled his decision differently, but the lengths that people go to bash him and the team is childish. Move on with your lives.

Something less talked about is the potential that this matchup is going to be a long-running Finals rivalry.

From 1980 – 1987, the Finals featured Sixers-Lakers and Celtics-Lakers a combined six times.

Lets breakdown the chances that Heat-Thunder can reach that level.

Age & Contract of Key Players


James – 27, signed through 2016, opt out in 2014.

Wade – 30, signed through 2016, opt out in 2014.

Bosh – 28, signed through 2016, opt out in 2014.

You have the three of them at least another two years barring a trade, and Wade figures to have at least three more good years in him. The supporting cast will come and go, and is insignificant. So it looks like the next three years they will be together and playing at a high level.


Durant – 23, signed through 2016.

Westbrook – 23, signed through 2018.

Harden – 22, signed through 2013.

Serge Ibaka – 22, signed through 2013.

Kendrick Perkins – 28, signed through 2014.

The two best players are there for four years and going nowhere. OKC has some decisions to make with Harden & Ibaka within the next year. Both would command big money on the open market. Would they both take less to build a potential dynasty?



Chicago – Not enough offense, and no elite players to compliment Derrick Rose.

Boston – Major roster overhaul on the horizon.

Philly – Lacking a superstar to elevate them to the next level.

New York – If they lure Chris Paul or Dwight Howard, they would be a threat.

Indiana – see Philly.

Atlanta – I only mention them because I have a feeling Howard lands here, which makes them dangerous.


San Antonio – Their three best players are on the wrong side of 30.

L.A.L. – A lot depends on what they do with Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum, but the current roster is no match for OKC moving forward.

Dallas – If they somehow manage to snag Deron Williams AND Dwight Howard, they will be in the mix.

L.A.C. – Need to re-sign Paul, then get a thug to protect Blake Griffin. And it still wouldn’t be enough.

Denver – Very talented young nucleus. But how long is George Karl going to stick around?

Memphis – Great frontline, little else.

With all of those variables considered, it seems that Miami and OKC have a very good chance of getting back to the Finals in the coming years.

Enjoy the NBA Finals. I’m pulling for a 7-game series, and I have a feeling we’re going to see these two teams in the Finals plenty of times in the next five years.

20 years from now, we may be looking back at this budding rivalry in the same context as those memorable, classic 80’s tilts.

Stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com.

Photo courtesy of streetball.com.


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6 Responses to “Heat – Thunder: A Finals Rivalry Born?”

  1. d cro Says:

    Agreed. It may be time to set aside the anti-Heat sentiment–that is, after they lose this series. Two years in the sporting world doghouse seems to be the appropriate karma for the Decision, the Celebration, and “not 6, not 7…”

  2. Mojah Fukweh Says:

    People definitely need to stop bashing Lebron and the Heat cuz most of those ppl were fans of both before the decision and they probably cleared space in the schedule to watch it.

    • Jhonny Says:

      , I’m always bedudfled at UGA’ers and other Georgians and their fascination with running back recruits coming to UGA. It seems to me that they all harken each of the ‘next batch’ back to the glory years that stretch from Walker to Hampton in the 80s. I do hope this young man from Columbus performs, but my goodness he’s been set up to be Herschel but what if he ends up being just productive, like Caleb? And if he’s Herschel, that dog will still be a pup when he declares for the NFL!

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