The NBA Finals is an annual championship series of the National Basketball Association, also known as the NBA. The Eastern and Western Conference finals are decided by a best-of seven series. In the NBA Finals the three teams meeting in New Orleans is… Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Heat won the previous three championships but lost in the finals to the Los Angeles Lakers this year. The Spurs have the clear advantage due to the fact that they have the better players and coaching. Kobe Bryant is widely thought to be the best player ever to play the game. With his retirement announcement, this has become even more so. But the Heat will try to retain their title as well as the series win over the Lakers to take home the title for a fourth straight year.
The Lakers have been great contenders several times, but never as championship contenders. They’ve been to the finals twice, but have never reached the finals. Most likely it will be the third year in a row for the team that has a lot of stars and a deep and talented roster. The only teams to have won the NBA Finals three times are the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat. The Lakers will be hoping that their new coach Michael Brown can develop a championship winning formula after he was let go by the Denver Nuggets last summer.
Phoenix Suns, who finished second in the West last year, looked like they might be able to make another run at the finals. They’re led by two players, Robert Horry and Goran Podosic, that have won the Executive of the Year twice. The other half of the team, T.J. Ford, has been a key contributor all season. The Suns are loaded with talent and should be able to win the series against the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. Even if the chips are down in the playoffs this year, don’t count out the Suns, as they have shown that they can overcome adversity and still win in the finals.
Sacramento Kings: The Kings have proven over the years that they can be championship contenders, but are this year is the year that they will actually be able to defeat the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA Finals. If you think about it, they are the same team that was the Western Conference finalists last year but lost to the Mavericks in six games. The Kings will definitely have home court advantage throughout the series, but can the Dallas Mavericks spring an upset? They are the heavy favorite, but this could be an interesting series.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The biggest storyline surrounding the Cavs right now is whether or not Larry Hughes will be named the NBA Finals MVP. Many experts say that this award is overdue, especially with the recent failures of big name players such as Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Vince Carter. But still, some Cavs fans are clamoring for Hughes to be named the finals MVP. The Cavs will be playing for pride, and while they may not reach the finals this year, it is never a guarantee that they will. If the season is shaping up to be a battle between the Pistons and the Bulls in the Eastern Conference, the Cavs could have their work cut out for them in this series.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons have been one of the biggest surprises of this NBA finals season. The Pistons are deep with stars like Dewayne Dedmon, Tayshaun Prince, and Prince Abdul-Rauf Mustafa, but they still need one more big guy to round out the interior. They lack a true center, which makes them one of the more vulnerable teams in the NBA Finals. But what will they do if Michael Redd of Denver and Luis Scola of Phoenix goes down with injuries and neither plays a lick of basketball. The Detroit Pistons needs a miracle and they may just get it from Andre Miller.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The last two finals appearances by the Pistons and Cavs have been close affairs, and this series could bring the crown home for the Cavs. The difference between these two teams is that the Cavs are without Big Ben who are leading the team, and the Pistons are without Henry Dent who were arguably their best player last season. This could be a huge opportunity for the Cavs to win their first title in over seven years.