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Thread: Why OKC Lost to the HEAT and WHY/HOW they can WIN this year

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Default Why OKC Lost to the HEAT and WHY/HOW they can WIN this year

    Okay, so this thread is mostly because I went on a tangent in another thread I wouldn't mind hearing other people's perspective. I never posted anything on the finals because I'm in Africa and I had to download them with shitty internet so by the time I watched them all, the draft was over and free agency had already started...

    Ok so here's the relevant part I wrote in the Lakers vs. Heat thread

    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    ... I don't think we should underestimate the Thunder at all. Both in the Western Conference Finals, and/or in the NBA Finals, I watched every game of the finals, and my opinion is that there were three reasons why Miami won, and only one* of them has anything to do with talent.

    1) Heat played harder, Bosh (whether you like him or not, and I'm in the middle) hit the deck THE MOST out of any player on either team to scramble for loose balls.

    2) I do think that OKC got some bad calls, but more importantly, they didn't have the mental toughness to play through bad calls, or key turnovers.

    3) Durant couldn't guard Lebron w/out fouling whereas Lebron could guard Durant w/out fouling. If your best player is SF and you can't make up against the other teams best player who plays your position you are going to be trouble. (*this is the talent related one)

    I don't think either guy is capable of stopping the other guy (they are both to good on offense), I also don't think Durant needs to stop Lebron on offense, since he's going to more than make up for the points. But he does need to be able to guard him w/out fouling, because once you switch Durant off, Lebron chances are you are going to have to double, and once you do that Lebron is going to get other shooters involved and it's very difficult to make Miami take bad shots.

    ...I don't think TALENT is the most important factor in winning an NBA title. I think that being mentally toughness, and the ability to stay in that zone where you are making good decisions and playing your heart out is what wins championships.For me I think that all three of OKC, Lakers, and Miami, have the talent to win an NBA title. If I was going to lay odds on what team is going to be the most focused, and play their best basketball in the finals, I'm going with the Heat, followed by the Lakers, followed by OKC. However, if OKC grows up just a little bit more and if (which is a moderately sized if) Durant can figure out how to guard Lebron without fouling him (again not stop him from scoring, just guard), then the rest of the Thunder can guard the rest of the Heat in single coverage, and I think OKC out scores Miami, anyway in order to do that they have to get past the lakers...
    So what do you think, is my evaluation of why Miami won reflect your own opinions as to why Miami won and OKC lost?


    There is probably a generic NBA Finals thread that this should go under, although theoretically, it is also about this year's finals should there be a rematch. In any case I won't be upset if a mod merges it into an existing thread (especially if they wait 2-3 days before doing it!)


    EDIT: Also, this exercise of comparing the Lakers to the Heat, has made me realize that I am a bigger fan of OKC than I realized. The Raps are still my favourite team, and I still have a raging boner for the MAN I think JV will become, but I'm going to actually start following the Thunder in an active that I haven't done any other NBA team ever (except for the raps). Anyway, Go Thunder!

    2x EDIT: This is also the same Thunder that won 4 straight against the Spurs team that had won 20 straight in the Western Conference Finals... They've got to have some mental toughness to do that especially after being down 2-0. I'm still not sure why they couldn't keep it together in the finals (although I'd also be inclined to partially attributing Harden's poor performance to the fact that he spent a significant amount of time guarding Lebron (an off shoot of the last of my three points).

    3x EDIT: I do think that the Thunder's best chance for a title is 2012-2013, as free agency and roster changes come into play.
    Last edited by ezz_bee; Sat Aug 11th, 2012 at 03:09 PM. Reason: because BOLDING is fun!
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Red and White's Avatar
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    Good post. I have noticed that people are counting out the Thunder already. Pretty silly how a few months ago people were predicting the Thunder dominate the Heat, and now it is like the Lakers and Heat are a lock for the finals.

    While the Lakers and the Heat have added talent with players like Allen, Lewis, Nash and Howard, the Thunder are improving talent. Durant will be improved. Westbrook will be improved (especially having played with CP3). Harden will be improved (I doubt he will disappear in the playoffs like last year). Despite the major improvements by the Lakers, OKC matches up with them very well.

    Nash can not guard Westbrook. Sefolosha/Durant can guard an aging Kobe/MWP. Ibaka can guard Pau. Perkins has played really well vs. Howard defensively on multiple occasions.

    Yeah I definitely would not sleep on the Thunder this year. Unlike the Lakers, all the players on this team are going to improve year after year, while we will see Nash, Kobe, Peace, and Pau slowly begin to decline. I say this Thunder team will win a championship in the next 2 or 3 years.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Miekenstien's Avatar
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    i don't think there is going to be a drastic amount of internal growth for the thunder. where l.a. got drastically better at the 1 and 5 position. the thunder need to figure out a half court offense.

    i think the heat/thunder question is an easy one to solve. 28.6pts/10.2rpg/7.4apg/1.6spg
    http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/
    lebron had an amazing finals

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote Miekenstien wrote: View Post
    i don't think there is going to be a drastic amount of internal growth for the thunder. where l.a. got drastically better at the 1 and 5 position. the thunder need to figure out a half court offense.

    i think the heat/thunder question is an easy one to solve. 28.6pts/10.2rpg/7.4apg/1.6spg
    http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/
    lebron had an amazing finals
    Lebron is the best basketball player on the planet, hands down. But chalking up the heat's win to his performance is not reflective of what I saw when I watched the games, especially games 1-3.

    Again, I think that the mental tenacity of the heat was a bigger difference maker than Lebron's performance.

    I would agree that OKC hasn't really added any new talent to their roster, although the fact that they are so young would suggest that there is some reason to believe that they be significantly more talented. As the players on the Heat and Lakers are going to maintain there level of play. Whether that amounts to anything is yet to be seen. But again I would point out that very few people would have bet on OKC after going down 2-0 to San Antonio.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    I wouldn't right OKC off, and they easily are the best bet to beat the Lakers in the West. I think they are also the best match up against LA.

    But the Lakers improved at some many levels this season.

    Physically - no one dominates like Dwight. He is perhaps the biggest mismatch in the NBA. Steve Nash may well be, pound for pound, the toughest SOB in the league. They also retain Metta, who while crazy, knows his role and is willing to kill his opposition.

    Mentally - Dwight for Bynum is an upgrade. Yes I know people don't like Dwights approach to his trade demands, but on the court he doesn't change. Bynum still had maturity issues. Nash again I don't think anyone would question. Kobe has his killer instinct. Metta is a possible problem, but he has always accepted his role on that team.

    Experience - they added more with Nash. Lost nothing in terms of experience.

    Somehow Pau Gasol just became a role player - and when the best non-franchise player in the league just became a role player, well thats just dangerous.

    I think the only real big question mark that exists with this team (and where OKC has an edge + superior 6th man) is will everyone accept a new role? And really this comes down to Kobe being willing take a step back... if he's willing to do that, I'd expect everyone else to follow suit

    here's the meat though.

    I think, barring injuries, Miami walks out of the east again. LA and OKC battle in the west (edge LA though).

    If LA beats out OKC, LA wins the championship
    If OKC beats out LA, Mia wins the championship.

    OKC matches up well with LA - but not Miami. Miami matches up well with OKC - but not LA.

    (not that OKC doesn't have a shot by any stretch, just what I would expect if all things remain equal)

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    IMO, the Heat won because OKC had no counter to small ball. The Heat 'got away' with playing Bosh/Lebron/Battier as the front line because Ibaka/Perkins couldn't punish them inside. OKC was an absolute perfect matchup for the Heat. Bosh & Lebron could basically conserve energy on defense guarding Ibaka/Perkins and defensive specialist Battier guards Durant, instead of Lebron. Battier ended up being one of the x-factors. Brilliant strategy by Spoelstra. Normally teams can only play small ball in short stretches before the other team adjusts by pounding the ball inside to a big man. OKC doesn't have a reliable post scoring big man. Miami small ball wouldn't work against Memphis (Gasol/Randolph) or the new Lakers (Gasol/Howard). Heat played the whole series without having to put in Joel Anthony, who has zero offensive ability.

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    Raptors Republic Starter Prime's Avatar
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    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    3) Durant couldn't guard Lebron w/out fouling whereas Lebron could guard Durant w/out fouling. If your best player is SF and you can't make up against the other teams best player who plays your position you are going to be trouble. (*this is the talent related one)

    I don't think either guy is capable of stopping the other guy (they are both to good on offense), I also don't think Durant needs to stop Lebron on offense, since he's going to more than make up for the points. But he does need to be able to guard him w/out fouling, because once you switch Durant off, Lebron chances are you are going to have to double, and once you do that Lebron is going to get other shooters involved and it's very difficult to make Miami take bad shots.
    Except if you paid attention, Sefolosha was the one on LeBron most of the time. Durant was relegated to guarding Battier.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar planetmars's Avatar
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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    I wouldn't right OKC off, and they easily are the best bet to beat the Lakers in the West. I think they are also the best match up against LA.
    I wouldn't write off the Spurs either. The Spurs were the best team in the West going into the playoffs, and had won 10 in a row before losing to OKC. Pop will definitely be resting the Spur's aging vets for the playoff run so they may not end up as the #1 seed, but they will match up well against the Lakers (at least they have always had Nash's number) and Pop will probably use hack-a-Howard if he needs to (it worked against Shaq and the Lakers).

    It'll either be OKC, LAL or SAS in the West.. If LAL and SAS match up in the playoffs, I do see SAS taking it.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote Prime wrote: View Post
    Except if you paid attention, Sefolosha was the one on LeBron most of the time. Durant was relegated to guarding Battier.

    This is exactly my point. And I was paying attention. Durant guarded Lebron in stretches, especially in the first couple of games, he guarded Lebron A LOT in the first two games (with Sefolosha guarding the remaining minutes) in the last few games we barley see Durant on Lebron at all, and Sefolosha's minutes were cut because he was an offensive liability, and that was when you got Harden guarding Lebron (even if Durant was also on the floor) and that was not very effective.

    If Sefolosha could have hit his open 3's then maybe it wouldn't have mattered... But I DEFINITELY saw a trend of Durant guarding Lebron at the start of games and then defensive assignments being shifted because Durant had some early fouls.

    My premise is that if Durant was capable of guarding Lebron without fouling then you don't have to switch sefolosha or Harden onto Lebron and that defensively Durant guarding Lebron is a scheme that could allow OKC to win.
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote planetmars wrote: View Post
    I wouldn't write off the Spurs either. The Spurs were the best team in the West going into the playoffs, and had won 10 in a row before losing to OKC. Pop will definitely be resting the Spur's aging vets for the playoff run so they may not end up as the #1 seed, but they will match up well against the Lakers (at least they have always had Nash's number) and Pop will probably use hack-a-Howard if he needs to (it worked against Shaq and the Lakers).

    It'll either be OKC, LAL or SAS in the West.. If LAL and SAS match up in the playoffs, I do see SAS taking it.
    I wouldn't write off SAS either, although I would say what people have been saying for the last 4 years... that Tim Ducan is getting older. I do think that the West is a solid 3 deep with Lakers, OKC, and Spurs. Ibaka is still quite young, and Perkins can at least guard Howard.

    I would agree that Perkins not being able (or not being used correctly?) to score in the post was a big problem versus Miami. I don't think OKC has a good chance based on the talent they had last year, and that there chances are hinged upon the players they have getting better, considering that the NBA prime is considered around 28, it's not inconceivable to suggest that they will get better. It will be fun to see if they get good enough to get back to the finals and/or win the whole thing.

    I think they are right on the cusp of having enough experience and drive to want to get it done, and I do believe that if they don't win it all next year then it is hard to justify Harden and Ibaka both getting resigned.

    I think so much of Lakers vs. Thunder or Spurs vs. Thunder comes down to how much (if at all) the older vets decline and how much (if at all) OKC's young players improve.

    I think it's too close to call!

    Either way there should be some GREAT playoff basketball next season!
    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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