We are getting increasingly closer to finding out who is the best basketball team in the world. Down to the conference finals, two teams remain in the East, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, and two teams are left in the West, the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. In these best of seven series’, home court advantage could make all the difference.
For the Heat, where they play is not all that important as they have simply ran through their competition, beating Milwaukee in four games and then taking down Chicago in five games following their game one loss at home.
After an impressive 8-1 playoff record so far, Miami prepares for the Indiana Pacers who will be the final, and toughest competitor from the Eastern Conference.
Fresh off a game six win at home to knock off the second seeded New York Knicks, the third seeded Pacers are headed to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004. Their opponent, however, has won the past two conference championships including the NBA championship last year.
Nonetheless, there is a glimpse of hope for the young Pacers who own the regular-season series two to one. In addition, Indiana ranks as the best rebounding team in the league with 45.9 rebounds per game and contains a strong defensive mindset allowing only 90.7 points per game, second best league-wide.
In the end, it’s the Miami Heat who win every other category including the best overall regular-season record at 66-16, 16 games ahead of the Pacers. That should lead directly into another trip to the NBA finals for the Heat who would like to get there as soon as possible. With a minor speed-bump on the way, I foresee Miami back in the finals after a quick five game series.
In the West, the Spurs have been taking care of business by winning nine of their 11 games and eliminating both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. Already one game ahead of the Grizzlies, the Spurs have enjoyed the help from their home crowd.
In fact, of their 24 loses during the regular-season only six of those games were lost in San Antonio. That trend has continued into the post-season with San Antonio winning five of their six home games so far.
When it comes to head-to-head match-ups between these two achieving teams, it has been dead even with each team winning two games at home and losing two on the road making home court advantage essential in this nearly even series. The Spurs concluded the regular-season two games ahead of the Grizzlies.
It looks very likely that this series might take all seven games to decide, but in the end I believe the offense-heavy Spurs will triumph over the best defensive team in the league and go on to face the Miami Heat for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
However, when it comes down to it, LeBron James and the Miami Heat will repeat and take another NBA Championship back to South Beach. The dynasty has begun, watch out basketball world.
Note: This will be my last column for Explorer News as I will be starting college next fall at Syracuse University. I would like to thank Thelma Grimes and the entire Explorer News staff for giving me the opportunity to be a sports columnist. Most of all, I would like to thank my readers for their loyalty and support for the past year and a half.