Heat vs. Thunder: Superstar Battle Won't Decide Outcome
An NBA Finals boasting the league's MVP and scoring champion won't be about these two talents.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant are two of the NBA's top talents, but the impact the two will have on the 2012 NBA Finals is minuscule. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat will take part in a memorable series, though it will be one that is set to be decided not by each team's superstars, but by the supporting cast.
Fueled by Thunder clutch guard James Harden and Heat three-point threat Shane Battier, each team's players outside of the big-time talents has helped to propel these teams to a spot in the championship.
When it comes to the Thunder, Harden, as well as Derek Fisher, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison have been the big time contributors this postseason. Harden in particular has lit up the stat sheet, posting 17.6 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting in the 15 games played.
Fisher has brought about a veteran type of experience, scoring a solid 6.5 points and putting up just 0.4 of a turnover in just less than 22 minutes per game. He has been especially consistent and effective with the basketball for this team in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Perkins and Collison have been impact players with their defense. The two were responsible for slowing down the bigs of both San Antonio and the L.A. Lakers throughout this postseason. The two squads are known for their production inside, making the feat all the more impressive.
In Miami, it has been the play of Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and "bench player" Chris Bosh that has gotten to this team to where it is. The Heat trailed the Celtics three games to two in the Eastern Conference Finals before these three got going.
Game 6 featured impressive play from Chalmers and Udonis Haslem, while Game 7 was a remarkable effort from Chalmers, Battier and Bosh. Bosh hit a career-best three three-point shots in the victory, while Chalmers and Battier combined for 21 points and five three-point hits.
As spectacular as both James and Durant are, the two are undoubtedly set to have tremendous series individually, yet it has ultimately been the supporting casts that have gotten these teams to the top.
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