Conference Finals Mirror Images of Each Other
On Monday I wrote an article about the critical role home court advantage has played in each conference championship series. As of Monday, each team in each series had won their games at home; and each series was tied 2-2 going into their respective game 5's.
And of course, in both game 5's, the away team earned victories and completely changed the dynamic.
So here we stand, as NBA fans, waiting to see what happens in each game 6.
Hoopsvibe's Quick Call: The best team wins.
Boston, who, led by their gutsy big three, won in Miami last night and now has a chance to win the series tomorrow night on their home court. Oklahoma City, who everyone counted out after the first two games of their series against the Spurs, pulled out a huge win in San Antonio on Monday night and have now won three straight. Game 6 is tonight in Oklahoma City (the craziest home court in the NBA), with the Spurs now facing elimination.
It's amazing how similar each of these series' actually are.
But I think what we're all witnessing, in both the East and the West, is that teams, not players, win championships.
Stephen A. Smith said something very poignant on sports radio this morning. While talking about the Eastern Conference Finals, he said something to the effect of, "We are seeing the difference between a good team and a team with good players." (Keep in mind that is not an exact quote, but you get the point). He was of course referencing how the Celtics have take their veteran leadership and are playing like a team, whereas the Heat are just relying on the talent of their two main stars, Lebron James and Dwayne Wade.
And he's right.
The Heat have the better players, but haven't been the better team. And in the playoffs, that simple distinction can make all the difference in the world.
It's the same type of situation in the West.
Now, certainly, the Spurs play like a team. And a great one, at that. They are disciplined and well coached. I'm not saying they haven't been playing like a team but I am saying that OKC has dug deeper as a unit. You can feel a greater sense of unified energy coming from their bench than San Antonio's. While the Spurs have been a great team, it's clear that OKC has figured them out; they didn't get discouraged when they went down 2-0 and in fact, have played more like a team in the past three games than the Spurs have.
So what does this mean for each game 6? Who knows. I've been wrong plenty this year. And even though I've been hoping all along for a Heat Thunder championship showdown, the Heat won't get past the Celts unless they come out in game six and play harder as a team.
But as of today, I'd say Boston and Oklahoma City will play each other in this year's NBA Finals. SImply put, they are out teaming their counterparts.
And may the best team win.
Questions or comments??? Get at us Hoopsvibers!
Image source: AP Images.