It happens sometimes in major sports where the most intriguing match-up for the Championship, does not always end up being the Championship series. The best example of this in recent memory is the 2007 ALCS when the Boston Red Sox overcame a 3-1 deficit over the Cleveland Indians to win a trip to the World Series against the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies came from absolutely nowhere, winning 14 of their final 15 regular season games earning a one game playoff for the final wildcard spot against the San Diego Padres. It was a great story, the success continued into the playoffs as they made it all the way to the World Series. It was commonly believed however, that they didn’t match up well to the monsters battling it out for the AL crown. As the ALCS was going on, many people referred to it as the World Series. Most fans and analysts mentioned how it would be a miracle for the Rockies to beat either of these teams in a seven game series. It no doubt could be done, but not likely. So as you watched the ALCS, you felt that it was for it all, not just the American League crown. If you could make it out of this series, the ring was surely yours. As we all know, Boston made a dramatic comeback to win the ALCS and then went on to pound the Rockies to win the World Series.
Depending on what happens in the eastern conference, we could be seeing something of the same in the NBA. The east is a total crapshoot right now; any team could come out of it. The West however, looks like it is going to be an incredible matchup. A group of guys who have been there and done that in the Spurs with Coach Pop, Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, against the young guns in Durant, Westbrook and Harden. Both teams play incredible team basketball. The teams’ biggest stars, Duncan and Durant, don’t need any spotlight or recognition. They come to the arena to do their job and give everything for their team. This is the matchup that deep down we all wanted.
It’s possible that the Heat can escape this series with the Pacers, possibly get Bosh back and top the Philly/Boston winner making it to the finals. And if that’s the case, they can make the finals watchable. I’m not trying to discount the other teams left in the east, but be honest with yourself. Who has a better shot against San Antonio or OKC? The best player in the world or the “awe shucks” we’re just happy to be here teams?
I believe that the Western Conference Finals will live up to the hype. Two excellent teams with vastly different styles of play. I see the series going 7, with neither team giving in. The question is what prevails; youth or experience? My early prediction is the Spurs. But I am just hoping for a great series.
Truth be told, I would love to see the Pacers and Spurs both make the finals. Both teams play great team basketball and don’t rely on one individual star or trio of stars to carry their team. It would be a finals series that in my opinion would be good for the NBA.