For those of us who have been in denial, let’s brace ourselves. The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks will soon meet in the NBA Finals.
Sure, there is still a lot of basketball to be played in their respective conference finals, but honestly, neither the Chicago Bulls nor the Oklahoma City Thunder look quite ready after what we witnessed this past weekend. Let’s just be real.
The Mavs went on the road Saturday to claim a key victory to take a 2-1 edge into Monday night’s Game 4 in Oklahoma City. If the Thunder still can’t find a consistent answer for Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki, then you have to figure this one will be over in five games once the series returns to Dallas.
The same holds true for the Chicago-Miami series. The Heat are beginning to resemble the impossible-to-defend three that Pat Riley envisioned when he put LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh together last summer.
It is obvious that the Bulls strategy to put the clamps on James and Wade and force Bosh to beat them isn’t going quite as drawn up. I’m still not convinced that that isn’t the way to go, but after Bosh’s strong 34-point performance in Sunday night’s win, don’t be surprised to see that strategy change.
Maybe even more harmful than the Bulls' inability to find much consistent offense outside of MVP point guard Derrick Rose, is their lack of understanding that shutting down James requires more than stopping his scoring—you also have to take away his vision as a passer and box him out on the boards. His effectiveness isn’t limited to just scoring.
These two conference finals series appeared on paper to be far more exciting than they have been, but with Dallas and Miami both holding convincing 2-1 leads, things oddly seem one-sided so far. Perhaps Oklahoma City and Chicago are still a little too young, and maybe both need another piece or two to be able to compete at the highest level.
Whatever the case, let’s just brace ourselves and begin to get excited about the inevitable Heat-Mavs NBA Finals series.
(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)