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NBA Championship: Why Miami Heat Will Beat Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 Games

Richard LeivenbergContributor IIIJune 19, 2012

When it is all said and done, the Miami Heat will beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games on their home court, taking the NBA Championship, beating the favorites and securing LeBron James' much-needed first championship ring.

They will win the next two games in a dominating, gut-wrenching and methodical manner. It may be by one point or by 10, but it will seem like the Heat knew something the Thunder didn't.

Miami will win not so much because they are the better team talent-wise.

Nor will it be solely because of their Big Three—LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

They will win because they have experienced the tremendous sense of defeat that comes with losing in the Finals.

They will win because they are more experienced, wiser, more compelled and perhaps even more committed than their younger, swifter counterparts.

If you look at the stats, the Thunder key players—Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka—are right in line with their season numbers in the key areas of points per game, assists and blocks.

The last two games have shown Miami to be the smarter and tougher team, willing to do all of the things that a winning team does.

If that means making a higher percentage of free throws as Miami has done, then so be it.

If it means LeBron gives Durant a push as Durant goes for the last shot on the baseline, then so be it.

In fact, that play says a lot about how far LeBron has come and how much he has learned while playing against the likes of notorious con artists like the Boston Celtics.

There was Durant making a move towards the basket with time running out in the second game. LeBron ever-so-gently but oh-so-wisely nudges the scoring champ away from the basket so that he has to take an off-balance shot. 

If he makes it, they go to overtime.  He didn't, and LeBron was not called for the foul.  It was a 50-50 call, but one that could have easily gone the Thunder's way.

Instead, LeBron took the smart gamble, and Game 2 was Miami's.

LeBron has learned a lot from his past losses, his errant play and lack of aggressiveness.  He has taken over, and the Thunder had better watch out.

"We're a totally different team than we was last year when we was up 2-1," James told the Detroit News.  "We're a totally different team. We understand what it takes to win, we've used that motivation, and we will continue to use that motivation. But last year is last year, and we're not going into a Game 4 on someone else's floor. We're going into a Game 4 on our floor with a lot of experience in this type of situation. We'll be ready. We love the challenge."

On paper, the Thunder and the Heat match up nicely, each with a Big Three that play well together. In fact, the Thunder also have a fourth star in defensive stud Ibaka and a coach who is capable of turning things around when they get tough.  Witness the amazing comeback against the San Antonio Spurs, who many felt were playing the best basketball as they entered the playoffs only to be swept away by the Thunder.

You can tear up that paper.

This is about intangibles and mostly about ridding oneself of the pain associated with a great loss.

Who has suffered more than LeBron James?  You want public humiliation?  You want to be denigrated by every NBA fan, every person in Cleveland, sports writers, fellow players, even Moms and kids?

LeBron James has taken it and taken it and taken it for years.  Now it is his turn to give it back.

LeBron may be the best NBA player of all time, or he may be the next Charles Barkley, a great player never to have won a ring.

The way he is playing now, averaging 30 points and 10 rebounds, this year's MVP is a man on a mission, and the Thunder are just in the way for two more games.

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