New Years Eve Guide
Related Articles: Basketball, All

NBA

The Finals are Set

First of all --WOW -- what a fun semi-final series the Heat and Pistons just gave us. Grit, experience and a little luck helped the Pistons overcome a beat-up Miami team. What will top that? Answer: the two best teams playing each other for the title.

Boring Finals
Marketers are complaining that Duncan is too drab and Rasheed's just too crazy. I say, "Shut up, marketing fools. If you like fluff so much, go play with some whipped cream." This is the match-up most analysts thought would happen last year. And now it's here, only both teams are champions. It's the first time that's happened since the 80s. Two of the best coaches in the game are plotting. This is good stuff and anybody trying to tell you otherwise doesn't know what basketball is all about.

Tim Duncan for President
What we have is the makings of Tim Duncan trying to rise to that next tier where we meet the likes of Kobe, Shaq, and Larry "Legend". When Duncan won his first MVP, I thought Shaq should have gotten the award. But as the years have gone by, T.D. keeps on producing basically the same numbers, year in, year out, and his team keeps winning -- a lot. There's no denying him anything any longer. Sure there is Garnett and LeBron but which of these players would you rather have? It's like saying I want Wilt instead of Russell even though I know my team won't win titles. It just doesn't make sense. Duncan has the potential of stamping his name as one of the greatest post players of the modern era.

Similar Teams
In T.D.'s way is a team that always finds a way to win the games it must. But, the same can be said of the Spurs. Look at the starting lineups: Duncan vs. R.Wallace; Mohammed vs. B.Wallace; Prince vs. Bowen; Billups vs. Parker; Hamilton vs. Ginobili. There isn't much difference between the teams. Only with the Spurs bench can we say one team has an advantage. Realizing this, little things will make the difference. Up front, both teams are solid and fairly predictable. But the back court is where the main battle will occur.

For the Spurs, Manu Ginobili's play will be tested big time. He'll get the normal hussle stuff he usually pulls off. But his decision making, when to be selfish or unselfish will be big. The Pistons love to force scoring guards into tough situations. Tony Parker is going to get knocked down. He's going to get posted up. Can he come right back and drive the lane repeatedly and force the Spurs tempo?

For the Pistons, can Rip continue to shoot "lights out"? The Heat didn't have an answer for him and if the Spurs don't either, it will spell trouble. Can Chauncey take advantage of his size and strength against Parker? He was somewhat inconsistent against the Heat, but this series offers him a chance to come up big once again.

Bottom Line
What are we looking at? Lately, I haven't been very high on the Pistons but here they are, in position to win another title. That said, take the Spurs in six.