With the abbreviated Play-in completed, the Brooklyn Nets, the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Orleans Pelicans step forward to claim their slots
In the end, good karma rewarded them with the biggest prize. The Los Angeles Lakers finally nailed their 17th title, tying them with the oft-regarded gurus of basketball, the Boston Celtics, for the most number of titles in the NBA. This season, both teams experienced what positivity and good karma can do for a team. The same good karma that sent the underdog teams of the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets to overachieve in this memorable playoffs. Which team will carry on with the valuable lesson? Whosoever imbibes this lesson well will have a great head-start for next year’s race for the crown.
Like 2 majestic prizefighters duking it out in the center of the bloodied ring, the Lakers and the Heat size each other up once more. The Heat is bruised and battered, having absorbed tremendous punishment from its oversized foe in 3 of the first 4 rounds of this 7-round classic. After losing the last-minute slugfest in Round 4, the Heat stood eyeball-to-eyeball with the Lakers once again in the dying seconds of Round 5. Would they bend a knee to the mighty Lakers?
It’s all over but the shouting. The way the Lakers are playing, with their supreme confidence, and with no trace of pressure seen in their faces. . And with the fateful injuries to key Heat players. The Lakers are simply bigger, better and badder at this point. That said, I expect the Lakers to close the series in 4 games.
The Heat are a balanced team of veterans and rookies with plenty of upside. With Iggy Igoudala, Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler providing the wisdom, the maturation phase for the likes of Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson look assured. Despite the lack of a top-level superstar now, the team has a strong winning culture that is anchored on aggressiveness and blue-collar determination. Expect this team to be very competitive, not just in this year’s Finals, but for the years ahead.
Coach Brad has taken the game to a higher level, battling an equally-cerebral coach Eric Spoelstra in a virtual cage chess match. He has been the perfect coach for this young dynamic team. Clearly, the team has upgraded its game from the purely physical to the higher, more intellectual level. Still, the Celtics need a win in Game 6 in order to shift momentum back to their side. How will they do it? Expect coach Brad to come up with a surprise of his own.