BSO’s NBA Conference Finals Predictions – BlackSportsOnline
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



BSO’s NBA Conference Finals Predictions


And then there were four. While the second round of the NBA Playoffs may not have been as exciting as what was perhaps the greatest first round of all-time, there were definitely some great moments. Now that the dust has settled on the conference semi’s, we are down to the NBA’s version of the Final Four.

There are plenty of questions about the remaining four squads. So which teams will be advancing to the 2014 NBA Finals? Let’s take a look at each series.

Indiana Pacers vs Miami Heat

(1) Indiana Pacers v. (2) Miami Heat

After all of the drama and up-and-down play of these two teams (well mainly Indiana), we finally get the Eastern Conference Finals rematch we’ve expected all along.

Let’s start off by looking at Indiana. The Pacers have looked great, terrible, so-so and fine at different points throughout this postseason, sometimes all during the same game. After ousting the Washington Wizards in six games, including going 3-0 on the road in the series, the question now is has Indiana turned things around enough to really challenge the Heat?

Ultimately, there really is no easy answer to this question. For all the good, (beating Wizards by 23 in Washington, championship-level defense in the final 5 minutes of the series clinching win) there is plenty of bad as well (losing two home games in the series, getting blown out in Indiana in Game 5, only seeming to play hard when the pressure is on).

Paul George has been the one consistent for this team. The All-Star forward is averaging 22 points, 9 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals per game, helping to balance off-nights from guys like Roy Hibbert, George Hill and Lance Stephenson. Hibbert will of course be the X-factor since Miami has nobody of comparable size to throw at him, but keep an eye out on David West. If the rugged forward can score like he did in Game 6 against Washington, Hibbert’s contributions might not really matter.

1hS7hB.St.56For the back-to-back defending champion Heat, the major question mark is fatigue. Despite not really being challenged so far this postseason, Miami is looking to make the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season. If they are able to do so, they would be the first team to accomplish the feat in nearly 30 years, and only the third team to do so in the modern era.

With an 8-1 record so far this postseason, Miami has done what a champion is expected to do, take care of weaker teams. While such a record is nothing to scoff at, it is well known the Eastern Conference isn’t exactly filled with playoff contenders. Miami will finally get their first real challenge against this Pacer squad.

The ho-hum Heat have been lead of course by Lebron James, who is averaging 30 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists per game this postseason. The assist numbers are actually a bit low for James, but he has been a much more aggressive scorer, as evidence by his 49-point explosion in Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets.

So who wins out in this series? The up-and-down Pacers who may or may not have finally turned the corner? Or the defending champs who have yet to face a real challenge in this postseason?

While many believe this will be an easy Heat win because of Indy’s playoff struggles, the fact of the matter is the Pacers always play Miami well. These teams match up extremely well, and are primed to give us another instant class of a series. Game 1 will be a key indicator of what we can expect from the Pacers. They have lost the first game at home in each of their first two series, and really can’t afford to fall into a hole against Miami.

Ultimately, in such an evenly matched series, the winner will be decided by the little things. Which team has the mental toughness to withstand a bad shooting night, or losing a home game? While a lot has been made of the Pacers wanting to get their revenge against the Heat, having built their entire season around getting homecourt in anticipation of another Game 7 meeting, nobody seems to mention the Heat mentality coming into this series.

Miami is not just looking for a three-peat, they’re looking to silence all those pundits who have been picking the Pacers/Spurs/Thunder all season long. They are looking to silence everyone who says the team is too tired, too thin, and getting too old to win it again. And at the end of the day, I’m taking a motivated Lebron James over pretty much anyone else.

Prediction: Heat in 6

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs -Game Two

(1) San Antonio Spurs v. (2) Oklahoma City Thunder

In the Western Conference Finals, we get yet another rematch, albeit this one from the 2012 Conference Finals.

The San Antonio Spurs come into this series on quite a roll. After struggling in the first round to re-incorporate Tony Parker and other players who rested down the stretch, the Spurs are back to clicking on all cylinders. And the results have been devastating. The Spurs second-round win over the Portland Trailblazers was the ultimate gentleman’s sweep, absolutely destroying the Blazers in the first three games before a Blazer win was followed by a fourth blow-out San Antonio win.

The Spurs are being lead by All-Star Tony Parker, who is averaging 22 points and nearly 6 assists per contest in the postseason. Those numbers might not seem that impressive, but keep in mind Parker has basically not played a fourth quarter since Game  6 of the first round.

The X-factor for San Antonio has to be third-year forward Kawhi Leonard. While his 14 points and 8 rebounds per this postseason don’t exactly jump out at you, when Leonard is on the Spurs become a completely different type of monster. Like the unbeatable, pack it up and go home type of monster. Leonard will likely be guarding Kevin Durant all series long, and will need to stay physical with the MVP. One key thing to watch is how much Leonard can make Durant work on the defensive end, as that could play a key role in energy down the stretch.kdsk_crop_north

Oklahoma City should be thanking the Pacers, because without them the Thunder would easily be the most frustrating team to watch this postseason. When you have two superduperstars like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, you should not be getting blown out at home by the Clippers and losing consecutive overtime games to a scrappy Grizzlies squad.

At the same time, when you have Durant and Westbrook your team is capable of doing things like coming back from a seven point deficit in 43 seconds. That’s what is so fascinating about this team. You know what you will get from Durant on a night to night basis, but throw in the lack of play-calling from Scott Brooks and the roller-coaster play (imagine the most up and down roller coaster you can think of, multiplied by infinity) of Westbrook, and you have the makings of something incredible or excruciating. You just never know with this team.

Durant has upped his already ridiculous regular-season averages this postseason. The MVP is averaging an insane 31-10-4 with a steal and a block per. His running-mate Westbrook hasn’t been so bad himself. Russ is averaging an unfathomable 27-8-8 with 2 steals per game this postseason, which by the way is something that only Oscar Robertson has done in a postseason spanning at least ten games. Those are some historic numbers. The two already became the first teammates in NBA history to go 30-10-9 in the same game. I repeat in NBA history, not just in the playoffs, but EVER.

So how do you pick a series between a known quantity and a volatile unknown? We know what the Spurs will give us; incredible ball movement, great execution, and very few mistakes. For the Thunder, you could get a few Durant/Westbrook monster games, or you could get a few terrible shooting nights from the stars. You just have no idea.

Before the final minute of Game 5 and the second half of Game 6 against the Clippers, I would have discounted the Thunders up and down play and said they had no shot against the Spurs. But the impressive comebacks in those back to back games have me believing OKC has figured it out. They showed signs of such following Durant’s amazing MVP speech, and may finally have turned the corner. Or maybe they haven’t, maybe they’ll revert back to hero ball and get swept. That’s the beauty of the Thunder.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that when a team’s best player is as good as any top man in the league (Durant) and their second best player is better than everyone else’s (Westbrook) you have the main ingredients for a title team. Think of Jordan/Pippen, Shaq/Kobe, Lebron/Wade, prime examples of this scenario playing out.

The only issue with all the great things going on for the Thunder right now is the major news that forward Serge Ibaka is out for the remainder of the postseason. With no rim protection on the Oklahoma City frontline, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the rest of the Spurs will be able to feast at the rim. Can Durant and Westbrook overcome this and win what they will have to turn into a shoot-out? Despite every fiber in my being telling me to pick the Spurs and be safe, something about this Thunder team just screams destiny to me. Oklahoma City pulls off the upset and we get Lebron-Durant II in the Finals.

Prediction: Thunder in 6

Pick Records:

1. Rob 11-1

2. Erin/Simone/Jeff 10-2

3. Belal/TJ/Ashley/Glen/Natasha/Greg/Vashti 9-3

4. Zack/Mark 8-4

5. Luck 7-5

6. Kel 6-6


Conference Final Picks