NBA Finals 2012: The Finals Winner Could Be Determined by Stronger Bench

Erick FernandezCorrespondent IIJune 14, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JUNE 12:  Nick Collison #4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks the ball over Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat in the first half in Game One of the 2012 NBA Finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena on June 12, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim Young/Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Miami Heat 105-94 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and as much as people want to discuss the play of the superstars, one of the biggest reasons the Thunder defeated the Heat was because of their bench.

This series has been highly publicized because of the matchup between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and with good reason, but in order to win the finals, there needs to a collective effort by the entire team.

As the Heat have demonstrated at times, their level of play is fairly thin beyond the "big three." Their roster has a lot of holes, and they lack quality depth—especially in the power forward and center positions.

There is no one that took advantage more than the Thunder's Nick Collison.

Although his stat line was not extremely impressive—eight points, 10 rebounds—his impact on Game 1 was crucial for Oklahoma City. He provided the spark plug off the bench that gave OKC the momentum it needed to get back in the game.

Collison is one of many options that Thunder coach Scott Brooks has at his disposal. With Nick Collison, five-time champion Derek Fisher, Daequan Cook and Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, the Thunder have a much more formidable bench than the Miami Heat.

The Heat's bench consists of Mike Miller, who is playing with numerous injuries, Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony. Not only are they minimal threats offensively, but they do not have the defensive presence the Heat need to stop the Thunder's attacking offense.

Miami's options are limited off the bench, and if Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh don't help LeBron James, the Miami Heat will have little to no chance to beat Oklahoma City in these NBA Finals.


Erick Fernandez is the creator of I Want to Thank My Hood & My Psychiatrist

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