2012 NBA Finals Preview

“They might be young, but they’re reeeadddyy!!”

former NBAer and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose

(L-R Russell Westbrook, Derek Fisher, Kendrick Perkins, James Harden and Kevin Durant)

Finally, tomorrow night, the NBA Finals get underway and if I had told you at the start of the lockout shortened season back on Christmas Day that the team representing the Eastern Conference would be the Miami Heat, you would have most likely said something like, “Probably” or “Yeah, I can see that.” But, if I had told you that the West would representative would be the young Oklahoma City Thunder including Derek Fisher AND that they’d have the home court advantage in the Finals, you’d immediately start exploring avenues to have me committed for “observation.” And yet, that’s exactly how one of the weirdest seasons in recent NBA history played out.

“How weird was it?” Well, let’s see, there was no real pre-season training camp or exhibition games, the season was only 66 games and started on Christmas Day and player injuries rocketed. Lamar Odom, the reigning “Sixth Man of the Year” apparently lost his will to play basketball unless he was a Laker (I’m really surprised the Mavericks haven’t filed a grievance against him), Jeremy Lin flashed and crashed in a matter of weeks, the Knicks had a coach resign between a morning shoot-around and that night’s game, the players union tried to remove its president, Derek Fisher, when he demanded an independent audit of the union’s finances which upon the revelation that executive director Billy Hunter’s son and daughter have profited handsomely from some questionable decisions and expenditures seems to have merit, Dwight Howard and the Magic entertained us with one of the funniest, most ridiculously drawn-out “Will he stay or be traded” plays the league has ever seen (for my money, this may have been the best moment of that situation Dwight Howard wants me fired), the Lakers underwent their usual drama and the Clippers made it to the second round of the playoffs. I’ll let that last item sink in for a minute…and we’re back. Oh yeah, did I mention that the commissioner, Herr David Stern, may have changed the course of history when he nullified the trade that would made Chris Paul a Laker instead of his eventually becoming a Clipper and was defiant and defensive when questioned about his decision?

Well, all that and more happened. And yet, the only thing that matters right now is that the youngest team in the league and the most scrutinized, over-hyped one, are about to meet in what has the potential of becoming a rivalry for the next few seasons.

“In the blue corner, formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics, please give a warm round of applause for the up-and-coming at you like a speeding locomotive, Oklahoma City Thunder. And out of the red corner, with basketball Godfather Pat Riley peering down from his seat in ‘Legend Alley’, please, show your love for Bosh, James Wade & Associates aka the Miami Heat!”

The Prairie versus South Beach; the contrasts couldn’t be clearer unless the 2016 presidential campaign comes down to Hillary Clinton vs Sarah Palin.

The prairie in 6.

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