Oklahoma City Thunder: Could the Thunder Really Beat Either the Celtics or Heat?
Some are even proposing that the Thunder are the "Next Great Dynasty", though they haven't even won the NBA title yet.
But that brings up the question: Can the Thunder beat either of them?
The Celtics are the team I wish would advance to the Finals, so let's analyze them first.
When matching up the positions, it seems that the Celtics have the slightest edge over the Thunder. Simply put, this Boston team spreads the talent so evenly around the floor that it is hard for any team to shut them down offensively and break through them defensively.
I would take Garnett over Perkins all day, same with Allen over Sefolosha, and Rondo over Westbrook.
Yeah, I said it, Rondo is a better point guard than Westbrook. He controls the game way better and creates a lot more opportunities for his teammates. He plays like a true point guard, while Westbrook still acts on the "shoot first, pass second" mentality. Westbrook is still a great player, no doubt, but I'm taking Rondo over him any day.
Some might pull out the whole "But the Celtics are too old to compete with Oklahoma City!"
Sure this Boston team is old, but they have the most motivation of the three teams left in the playoffs. They want it real bad, and are fighting as hard as they can. Their team chemistry is also the best out of all the teams, so age is nothing to them.
While Durant and Ibaka are better than Pierce and Bass, expect their stats to go down significantly due to increased competition. Pierce showed that he is still effective and Bass is a good player that can provide his own numbers.
If Boston can continue playing tough defense against the Thunder as they have been versus the Heat, they can win the series. The Thunder haven't had much in the way of "elite defenses" so Boston would be quite the shock to them.
But let's say that the Celtics drop this next one and Game 7. Then we would have the Heat reappearing in the Finals and taking on the Thunder.
While the Thunder would probably have a better chance, it still isn't looking easy. Wade easily beats Sefolosha, and Bosh (assuming he is healthy) edges out Ibaka. However, Westbrook is tons better than Chalmers, and Perkins is better than all of the Heat's centers.
Now the small forward position is where it gets real interesting. Durant vs. James. Two superstars squaring off.
In that scenario, I'm still taking Lebron, but only by an inch. Mainly because he plays better defense, which, as I mentioned, will be the difference.
On offense, it is pretty evenly matched up, as both teams have two prolific scorers and the rest being big contributors. While they are equal, the Heat have played a lot better defenses, so I once again take them by an inch.
But defense shows up again, and that is where Miami has a distinct advantage. While they are not as good as Boston, they would still slow down the Thunder. If you can slow down the Thunder, your chances of winning multiply.
Then again, games aren't won on paper. We can never truly dictate what will happen when those teams enter the court. After all, the Heat looked pretty good on paper versus the Mavericks last year.
However, looking at position matchups, statistics and competition, it doesn't seem like Oklahoma City could really beat either of these teams.
I for one, will be banking on the Eastern Conference champion.
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