Heat vs. Thunder matchup has no lack of star power
They say you need superstars to win in the NBA playoffs.
When the Spurs looked untouchable for two rounds and their first two games in the Western Conference Finals and the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead on the Heat in the East finals, the cliche looked as though it was being disproved. Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Paul Pierce ... they're excellent players, don't get me wrong, but they're not face-of-the-league guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook.
Well, as has happened so many times in NBA history, the megastars won out. Oklahoma City didn't bat an eyelash about being down 2-0 to a veteran, white-hot team, winning four straight. Miami didn't break under the pressure of the world in its back-to-back elimination-game wins.
And so here we are with a Finals matchup that's as sexy, short of the Lakers being involved, as ABC ever could have hoped. The two best basketball players on the planet (James and Durant) will square off. So will a pair of guards (Wade and Westbrook) who are among the 10 best players alive, even if they're only second best on their own teams. James Harden and Chris Bosh, when they're healthy and right, are fantastic third options.
And if all that star power isn't enough to sell the American public on this series, there's the angle of one team (Miami) being the most hated in the game, and the other (the Thunder) popular everywhere but Seattle. I wouldn't call it a battle of good vs. evil, but some certainly see it that way.
It's not all of this that will make me tune in each night, though. It's the promise of some really, really good basketball. The Heat, for all their flaws, are a heck of a team, and they're facing a better opponent than they did in last year's Finals. I love the Thunder ... but I have considered Miami the team to beat from day one, and I think Durant and company might be a year away. Heat in seven.