NBA Finals Preview

Between their considerable physical skill and better role-players behind them, expect the smiles to continue for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James when the Heat begin the NBA Finals against the Thunder Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

This is the NBA Finals that David Stern dreams of at night and pleasures himself to during the day. The Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Miami Heat. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook vs. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The league’s best teams pitting its brightest stars against each other on its biggest stage.

The advertising pitch pretty much sells itself. It all starts Tuesday night, and here’s my preview.

Heat Too Multifaceted

Besides both having meteorological collective noun as mascots, the Heat and Thunder have much in common. Both have two elite offensive players, as capable of splitting defenses and dunking as stepping into mid-range jumpers. Both teams’ youth enables fast-paced, transition offense designed to strike before an opposing defense sets. And both teams have role-players capable of big plays when called upon.

Unfortunately for the Thunder, the Heat just have more. When Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and apparently even Chris Bosh can all shoot three-pointers, the Heat’s offense becomes nigh-unguardable. And at their best, James and Wade may be the physically strongest players in the game (minus Dwight Howard), which has translated into numerous trips to the foul line (17.0 per playoff game for James and Wade combined, 13.3 for Durant and Westbrook).

James Harden gives the Thunder a little more depth, but not enough to overcome the myriad snipers the Heat can use to eat up leads quickly.

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Metta World Peace Deserves Modest Suspension Only

I don’t like Metta “Formerly Ron Artest” World Peace. I haven’t liked him since the “Malice at the Palace,” and I really haven’t liked him since he joined the Lakers.

But World Peace didn’t elbow Thunder guard James Harden in the face on purpose Sunday. And when it comes to suspensions, intention should always count more than player history.

Here’s the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iKxuxN_hYg

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