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2012 NBA Finals Odds: Heat vs. Thunder Series Schedule | Preview | Pick

NBA Predictions: Miami vs OKC Series Analysis

Well, it’s all come down to this. The Miami Heat roll into the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday to begin the 2012 edition of the NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Personally, I was cheering for the Boston Celtics in Game 7 on Saturday night, but now we get to see the series everyone was eager to see.

Kevin Durant and LeBron James will headline what is sure to be one of the most watched NBA Finals in recent history, as the two go head-to-head in a battle to become Champion, while likely bringing home the MVP to go along with it.

Odds To Win The Series: Miami Heat +140 Oklahoma City Thunder -160.

The two teams split the regular season with both the Thunder and the Heat winning on their home courts. The series starts in Oklahoma City, as the Thunder have home court advantage. Here’s the full schedule (times Central):

Game 1 – Tues – June 12 – Miami at Oklahoma City – 8 PM – ABC

Matchup | Preview

Game 2 – Thurs – June 14 – Miami at Oklahoma City 8 PM – ABC
Game 3 – Sun – June 17 – Oklahoma City at Miami – 7 PM – ABC
Game 4 – Tues – June 19 – Oklahoma City at Miami – 8 PM – ABC
Game 5* – Thurs – June 21 Oklahoma City at Miami – 8 PM – ABC
Game 6* – Sun – June 24 – Miami at Oklahoma City – 7 PM – ABC
Game 7* – Tues – June 26 Miami at Oklahoma City – 8 PM – ABC

James comes into the series hoping that the third time is a charm after losing in his first two appearances in the NBA Finals, the first being back in 2007 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then just one year ago against big Dirk Nowitzski and the Dallas Mavericks.

Now he will face not just one player, but a myriad of talent up and down the Thunder bench.

A team that can hit you hard from all areas on the court, Oklahoma City has probably the best player in the NBA right now in Durant.

After leading the league in scoring (28 PPG) for the third consecutive season — just the seventh player in league history to ever achieve that feat and the first to do it since Michael Jordan– he will be making his first-ever career NBA Finals appearance.

Durant however is not the only presence on this Thunder squad, and he has gotten plenty of help on the road to the Finals from one of the league’s best young point guards in Russell Westbrook, as well as a emerging James Harden who has been a force to be reckoned with off the bench.

Together with Durant, Westbrook, who has averaged a career high 23.6 points per game to go along with 5.5 assists per contest, and Harden, who posted career highs in several statistical categories and won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, make up the West’s version of Miami’s triple threat. Who, after making quick work out of the last two NBA champions in Los Angeles and Dallas, upset the San Antonio Spurs after falling into a 2-0 hole early on in the series, rattling off four straight wins. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Meanwhile, this series will be no picnic for the often-criticized Miami Heat, who are coming off a brutal battle with the Boston Celtics, just two short days ago.

Throw in their tough series against the up and coming Indiana Pacers, and this team may just be lucky to be here. Nevertheless, it seems apropos that James will square off with Durant to decide the NBA title.

Love him or hate him, James is a beast, and enjoyed an NBA MVP season as he led Miami in several statistical categories. He averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.85 steals per game.

Similar to Durant, James is supported by some talent, which if called upon can share the load, and Miami will count on Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to take some of the pressure off James.

Wade led the Heat to its only title in 2006, while Bosh is a dominant inside presence that can distract teams while allowing James to inflict his own damage elsewhere on the court.

Free Pick: Thunder in 6 – Both teams have enough talent to win it all. However, while Miami struggled against a Boston team that is nowhere near the level of the Thunder, Durant and company are on fire after winning four straight.

Plain and simple. Oklahoma is just the better team, and they are red hot right now.

Is there anything else to say?

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