To start this series out, both teams will try and get a feel for one another. Both teams have watched film, practiced and tried to put their best foot forward, BUT there's nothing like being out there. Hearing the crazy Oklahoma City crowd, hitting the bulk of LeBron James head on and leaving everything on the floor is completely different from the days before doing so. Turnovers, early tentativeness and sloppy, up and down play may be prevalent during parts of the first quarter.
As the game progresses, expect crisp execution, especially on defense. Both the Thunder and Heat can play real solid D. Though I'm hoping for some offensive fluidity, the defense might get the best of both teams sometimes. The Thunder are real deep, expect their bench to make some offensive inroads against the limited Miami second unit.
The pace of this series should be blistering. These teams are young, athletic and excel in a speed game. The faster the game, the more the defensive ability of each team is limited. Towards the end of the game, the pace will slow down.
While slowing down the pace doesn't make sense for teams that run, it's just how teams close games. The latter half of the forth quarter should be slow and steady. Hopefully the game is fluid and not filled with free throws. That's my only worry when the game slows down.
Offensive execution in the half-court will be a huge key in this series. Which team can play best when they need to run a play? How will the continuity be throughout the game? These questions may just answer the question of who will win this series.
Don't forget about the start of the NBA finals tonight! 9 PM Eastern on ABC. Let these NBA finals be great for everyone involved!