NBA

Why the NBA Finals is destined to be Durant vs. LeBron

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Last season's NBA Finals series couldn't have been much closer. It only came down to a matter of seven points, by virtue of Miami's 95-88 win over San Antonio in the pivotal game seven to hand the Floridians a 4-3 series win.

And this post-season - as the 2013-14 regular schedule wraps up - is shaping up to be just as close when it comes down to the Finals.

16 teams - eight from each conference - go into the playoffs hunting championship glory, but realistically there's only a handful of teams in the mix.

Whilst Houston, the LA Clippers, and the Chicago Bulls are certainly worth a look in terms of making life hard for the champions-elect, you merely have to look at the 'top four' to find out who the smart money is on.

San Antonio and Oklahoma from the West, and Miami and Indiana from the so-called 'weak' East.

But if you do a little number-crunching, you can arguably whittle that number down to just two: the two teams that will contest the 2014 NBA Finals.

The sinking ship that is Eastern conference-toppers Indiana Pacers are currently sat level with reigning champions Miami, with both taking two wins apiece from their four regular season match-ups.

The Pacers were thumped 103-77 by San Antonio on March 31st, haven't beaten OKC in two attempts and have seemingly lost the ability to defend since April began, allowing well over 500 points in five games.

Oh, and they've only won three of their last ten.

The Pacers - so impressive for so much of the season behind Paul George's free-scoring and Lance Stephenson's timely dime-dropping - have gone AWOL when it's come to the crunch.

The fact that they look set to face either the Charlotte Bobcats or the Atlanta Hawks in round one should be no solace. They've suffered crushing defeats to both in their last encounters.

Perfectly feasible then that they face stiff competition to even make it past round one. It seems foolish to think people were tipping them for the title a few months ago.

Conversely, San Antonio - the thorn in Miami's side that so cruelly had their championship hopes dashed at the last knocking last year - are looking as strong as ever.

The ageless trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have overseen yet another Texan massacre on the West, which has seen them soar to the top of the conference table with the best record in all of the NBA... Again.

But for all the glory of their own record-breaking streaking season, the aforementioned old guard - with a combined age of 104 - are destined to pull up short. OKC will see to that.

In three contests with the Kevin Durant-inspired group this season, the Spurs have lost all three. In the big game out West, old father time has caught up with them.

And assuming that to be the case, it likely leaves the Thunder and the Heat battling it out for the premier prize in basketball, and that potential match-up is far too close to call.

They've both beaten each other this season, both know how to protect home-court advantage, and it would be a fitting encore of their 2011-12 championship showdown.

Serge Ibaka's blocks versus the positionally-incongruous 6"11 jump shot of Chris Bosh. Assist-maestro Russell Westbrook versus virtuoso finisher Dwayne Wade.

And of course, Durant versus. LeBron II. The most dynamite scorer in the NBA up against arguably the most complete player in NBA history, it could come down to who outscores who to decide the destination of this year's championship trophy.

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DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Indiana Pacers
NBA Finals
Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron James
Kevin Durant
San Antonio Spurs
NBA
Miami Heat

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DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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