By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on May 18, 2014
The Conference Finals for the 2014 NBA Playoffs get underway on Sunday afternoon. The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers face off in the East while the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder clash in the West. Though we have the top two seeds from each conference, there’s still time for some surprise. Here’s 10 bold predictions for the Conference Finals series.
Bosh has been on-fire this postseason from long-range, shooting just shy of 50 percent from long-range. While matched up with Roy Hibbert, if Bosh can knock down shots from deep with the same efficiency, he’s going to have a big series.
It’s certainly disappointing that Serge Ibaka is reportedly out for the postseason, but that doesn’t mean the Thunder still can’t get production from their frontcourt. Collison is still a talented player despite lacking Ibaka’s innate talents. It wouldn’t shock me if he had at least one game where he shines quite brightly.
When the Heat brought in Greg Oden, it was seemingly to combat the Pacers and Hibbert. However, Oden hasn’t played much this season and hasn’t seen the floor in the postseason. It’d be surprising, but there’s definitely a chance that Oden touches the floor at some point in the series.
Dwyane Wade is probably the x-factor for the Heat from here on out, particularly regarding health. Even when healthy, though, Stephenson has the youth and explosiveness to really exploit Wade’s decline in athleticism and could very well end up posting better numbers.
We’ve already seen Reggie Jackson almost single-handedly win a game for OKC in these playoffs, but that could happen once again. Matched up against Patty Mills off of the bench for the Spurs relatively often in this series, Jackson should be able to go to work on his offensive-minded opponent.
It’s even more unlikely that this will happen now given the injury to Ibaka, but it’s something that I’m still not ruling out. I think when you play a team like the Spurs, you have to roll out something that they aren’t fully expecting. After sticking with Perkins for so long, this would be a great chess move from Brooks and OKC.
George is definitely progressing as a player, but efficiency still isn’t his forte. If Miami’s defense is engaged, they could really make George into a jump-shooter, which could result in a highly inefficient effort from the Pacers star.
This isn’t the boldest of predictions, especially with Tony Parker’s uncertain injury status, but it’s something that might go overlooked. Though he plays a starter’s share of minutes, the Thunder’s bench has no one that can really stop Ginobili, possibly resulting in a really big series for the veteran.
These are two series that we’ve been expecting for quite a while, largely because of how competitive they’re going to be. However, I don’t think either series is going seven games. I think that one team will ultimately just figure things out and roll to a victory in the series before a decisive final game is needed.
Piggybacking off neither series going seven games, this is more of a traditional prediction than a bold prediction. I think that the Heat will be able to kick it into another gear once again and cause the Pacers’ struggles to resurface. For OKC, I’m just skeptical that the Spurs can stop Durant and Westbrook for the length of a series, giving the Thunder the edge.
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