The NBA finals are finally here. The Miami Heat visit the Oklahoma City Thunder in Chesapeake Energy Arena for game one of the best of seven series to determine the NBA champion for 2011-2012. The Thunder defeated three ex-champions in Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs, but was not extended to seven games in any series and has not had any injuries to key players, in their road to the finals.
Miami needed seven games to eliminate the Boston Celtics in the eastern conference finals and have had to play much of the last two series without Chris Bosh their big man, who was out with an abdominal strain but is back but not quite yet at 100%.
The Thunder will have the league’s high scorer Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to score close to 50% of their points. James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha will also help offensively and will play important roles defensively against the Heat.
Miami will look to its big three LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh offensively. James was the league’s MVP and is looking for his first NBA championship in his third trip to the finals. Last season the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the finals. The Thunder has not won a championship in Oklahoma City, but as a franchise won when the team was located in Seattle.
With all the superstars to fill the stat sheets, there will be one or two key players who will help decide who takes home the championship. That key player in this series might be Bosh for the Heat. Bosh has played under the radar since returning from his injury and in the shadow of James and Wade since arriving in Miami. Look for him to control the inside on defense and to extend the Thunder defense on Miami’s offensive end.
The current line has the Thunder as a home court favorite by 5 points after opening with them favored by 4 ½. The total is resting at 195 ½. Smart money takes the Heat plus the points in this game and the total to cash out to the OVER.