Sefolosha Steps Into Finals Spotlight





HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – Not everything about The Finals matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat will center on the respective “Big Threes” both teams will unleash on one another.

There will be room for other men to step into the global spotlight The Finals always brings. And who better to fit into that void than Thabo Sefolosha, the Thunder’s swingman, defensive specialist and the only Swiss player ever drafted into the NBA?

He will, after all, spend the majority of his time in the next four to seven games chasing either Dwyane Wade or LeBron James around the court. And that should result in an abundance of face time with the world’s basketball-loving public, the likes of which Sefolosha hasn’t experienced yet in his career.

His work on the defensive end in The Finals will be crucial to the Thunder’s cause, since he could alleviate that pressure for All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

Sefolosha has cut his teeth this postseason on some of the league’s best offensive talents, having had to deal with Lakers star Kobe Bryant in the conference semifinals and Spurs star Tony Parker in the conference finals.

But the challenge is even greater with Wade and James, especially considering what’s at stake in this series. Sefolosha has proven himself to be an absolute menace at times, frustrating both Bryant and Parker in ways few defenders can. And at 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, he has the size, foot speed and athleticism to stay with players bigger and smaller.

He also has that Bruce Bowen-esque quality about him in that he’s willing and perfectly able to knock down a big shot or two from the corner when called upon. His work in the series-turning Game 3 win over the Spurs — 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting, 4-for-10 from deep, six rebounds and six steals — probably opened a few eyes.

The Heat have seen enough of Sefolosha to know what they’re dealing with. In two regular season matchups against Wade, Sefolosha played just 20 and 21 minutes. Wade didn’t really go off in either game, though, scoring 22 points in a March 25 loss to the Thunder and 19 in a Heat win 10 days later.

In a series where everyone goes in wondering which role player from the Thunder and/or Heat will reveal himself as the wild card, we’re casting our lot with the player whose game is a perfect fit for the role (no offense to Heat forward Shane Battier, a more seasoned version of Sefolosha, who ranks as No. 2 on our list).

Plus, who has a better back story in The Finals than Sefolosha (we’ve always been a bit partial to the cat who comes out of the crowd to shake the Commissioner’s hand on Draft night)?


76 Comments

  1. yoyo says:

    um heat will not win they defeated the celtics and considering thunders bench and coach are much better than the heat

  2. Bob says:

    Interesting in this match up also the no.4 & no.5 spot.
    which power forward and center will dominate in the finals.
    As Ibaka & perkins on OKC contribute well to edge the spurs…
    How about in Miami? Haslem and Bosh!
    dont miss to watch the series…

  3. LALAKERS34 says:

    HEAT will beat thunder 4-1!!!! lebron will win his first ring …..and many more rings to come!

  4. AussieMavsFan says:

    Thunder are about 8 deep, anyone suggesting they are deeper than that is a little crazy. Perkins, Ibaka, Collison, Durant, Harden, Sefolosha, Fisher and Westbrook. The rest of their guys won’t really get on the court. Heat aren’t really that deep either with anyone outside Haslem, Bosh, James, Wade, Chalmers, Battier, maybe Anthony and Jones getting a look in. Anthony and Turiaf are rubbish and Cole is a rookie. Should be a good series though, with two teams having good players on the floor for most of the minutes. Gotta box out LeBron on the boards to have a good chance though for the Thunder.

  5. No great role Players? says:

    @jefrey

    Paxson, Rodman, Grant, Kerr, Kukoc’, Cartwright, Harper, etc. The list goes on. The role players of the Bulls during their 3-peats would wipe the floor with the Heat’s role players. Who helped the Bulls beat the Lakers? Paxson. Who hit a game winning shot against the Jazz? Kerr. I haven’t seen any of the Heat role players have that sort of impact besides Shane Battier and his 3 pointers aren’t even consistent. The Thunder have Collison, Fisher, Sefolosha, Cook and they have been consistent enough to do damage. The Stars of the Heat are probably more battle tested then the Thunder but there is no way James (especially) , Wade and Bosh can keep playing 48 minutes on both sides of the floor without some serious consequence.

  6. ANdy says:

    cmon Shane Battier and the heat!!!!

  7. Im Just sayin. says:

    I love the heat(My favorite team), but i think Thunder will win this one. Although they’re too young and inexperienced, they have that chemistry among their players that the Miami Heat Lack. They have great role players like Thabo, Derek, Serge, and Kendrick that could be a wild card at any given game. Thunder stars (KD, Westbrook, and Harden) really complement each other, and anyone of them can close out a game more consistently than the Heat’s Trio. Im still hoping that there would be a miracle so that the heat would win. Im just being a realist not an optimist.

    THUNDER in 5

  8. EZ says:

    Thunder by 6. Heat only have LBJ, Wade & Bosh. Take out LBJ in the game. Heat will crumble. While in OKC they have depth. These young guys are tough. Even you take Durant or Westbrook in the game, there’s lot of players stepping up. Yeah, the OKC struggle in SPurs but not much unlike the Heat struggle in Boston. Thier Bigs are a big factor. Take out bosh in Heat, their stars dou will have to work harder. They don’t have a good backup center that can score bigtime and defend.

  9. Conor O'Brien says:

    Thunder in 4, Heat won’t get a sniff, each game won by five points or more.

    Bank it.

  10. jefrey says:

    Bulls has no great role players when they won 6 championship =) they beat all the team that has a better role players. A decent role player is good enough and the heat does have that now. Heat will win Game 5 or 6

    • j c says:

      MJ scotty pippen denis rodman ron harper toni kukoc luc longley are u stupid no role players?

  11. DURANTFAN99 says:

    No contest, do the math here. LBJ and Durant cancel out, Wade and Westbrook cancel out, and then it’s Bosh against James Harden, Ibaka, Perkins, and Thabo. Figure out who will win.

    OKC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • pakyaw says:

      my friend your math is HORRIBLE.. STATS dont apply in playoffs basketball..its about overall basketball team impact..,theres an impact in a game that u dont see on a STATS sheet.. So u mean, if Bosh played entire series in pacer&celtics its a sweep series? i dont think so..last time i checked Bosh came back game 5 boston series,and they lost…BASKETBALL is not math

  12. AnotherHeatLoss says:

    @LOLakers – The heat sure put up 130 points on the aging Celtics team ;p.

    Also, you must be dreaming if you think the Heat bench will put up anything near 30 points. The only decent person is Battier and he’ll be locked down. It’s nice to have dreams, but you should really wake up and face the reality. After this season, Wade will be off the Heat, Spo will be fired, and Lebron will still be the finals choke artist that he always is.

  13. Conor O'Brien says:

    LBJ is not the best player ever. Until he proves he can be the man in the fourth quarter of a do or die playoff game he is merely another great.

    If stats were the be all and all MJ probably wouldn’t rank top five. You’d have Oscar, the Big Dipper and any other number of players who had freakish numbers in the regular season but for various reasons, including having scrub teammates, could not get it done in the post season.

    I agree its dumb to compare Kobe to Jordan, its not even close, but its stupider comparing LBJ to MJ. He don’t have a Jordan mode, Durant will beast on him when it counts.

  14. goerge says:

    My IDOL will try to GUARD their BESTS… just shave their outputs thabo….that will be enough…

  15. allen gabriel28 says:

    King James will eat Durantula!

  16. Green says:

    Will be a very interesting series, pitting two of the leagues quickest and most explosive teams against each other.
    For all of the talk and hype around LBJ V K.D, Medium Aged Big 3 v Young Big 3 and who’s role players are better, I think that the key will be which team scores more points.

  17. severin says:

    Aller Thabo toute la suisse est derriere toi…

  18. HeatDreamers says:

    Shaun Powell is not an obvious Heat fan, observe closely how unbiased(puke) his articles are about the heat.. SMH

  19. Bulls2012 says:

    The Heat i hate to say will win in 6…Thunder is a jump shooting team and the Heat has top 3 defense in the NBA…Durant of Thabo will not be able to guard prince james…Harden will not be able to guard dwade and i have bosh being the MVP of the Finales averaging 22.5 and 10 a game…Durant will get his 27 points a game……

    THE ONLY WAY WHICH THE THUNDER HAS A CHANCE IN THIS SERIES IS WESTBROOK (not better than drose)..the heat lack a point guard…

  20. Thabiso says:

    Thabo(joy) is Sefolosha is a South African name. Sweden might be his residential place but the roots are here,Go Thabo.

  21. ROOSTER says:

    did u all check out them top 10 plays miami… makes the thunder look ??? well just look for your self… :)

  22. LOLakers says:

    There isn’t one team in the NBA even close to Miami’s greatness and that’s even without Wade playing at his best. With Wade firing on all cylinders it’ll be an easy blowout sweep for the Heat!!! Lebron-40 pts, Wade-30 pts. Bosh-30 pts. and the rest of the Heat 30 pts. That’s 130 points that they can put up every single night. You think the Blunder offense can top that? Especially against the greatest defense in the league (Miami)? LOL! Blunder don’t stand a chance! Kevin Durant is nothing compared to Lebron and Sephalosha isn’t fit to lick Lebron’s shoes! Heat will take this series easily!!!

    • mort says:

      Ha ha ha ha………..are you serious??? Hey…..LeBron is a great player and all but this is still a team sport.

      • OU&THUNDER! says:

        If there is no team close to “Miami’s greatness” then how is it they went to a game 6 with the Pacers and a game 7 with Boston?! And for firing on all cylinders, good luck with that! Much props to the Heat, they are a great team and this should make for a very interesting series! For us Thunder Fans we are concerned about what Labron can do, but if we can shut one of the Heats BIG 3 (WADE) down then what? Lebron wont be able to beat us 4 of 7 games… Their whole team is gonna have to show up to do that! Very excited for this Series… Thunder UP!

  23. 7 Games says:

    I’m a fan of KD and Wade, and NOT a fan of Heats nor Thunders. All I wish for is just give me a great 7 games series………..

  24. LOLakers says:

    @jimbo999- “Sefolosha who?”

    Oh just another loser in a long list of losers who think thy can defend the unguardable Lebron James. You’d need superpowers to guard Leberon and even then it’d be a close match! Lebron is without a doubt and undebatably the greatest player of all time period!

    • QuestionMark says:

      Lebron is no where near the greatest of all time, Jordan is far better, Kobe is far better, Bird is far better, Magic is far better, Chamberlain is far better, Erving is far better, Pippen is far better, I can keep going. Lebron will be one of the best to play the game when his career ends but he won’t be close to the greatest, for one he can’t hit clutch shots, and two he doesn’t have a ring. Until he can prove he can hit clutch shots and take over a game when it matters then he will have chance to win a ring. Durant already proved he can take over games, example: 16 straight points against the Spurs in Game 4, and he can hit clutch shots, example: Game 1 against Dallas, Game 2 against the Lakers. And you don’t need superpowers to guard Lebron, all you need is a guy with a 7’4 wing span, KD, who can make sure he won’t hit jumpshots, Ibaka, the best shot blocker in the league, who can make sure he won’t be able to score much in the paint, and Collison and Fisher, who are great at taking charges. Obviously Lebron will score, but the Heat don’t have much besides Lebron, Wade and Bosh.

      • pakyaw says:

        because he got no ring? ohh wait! u forgot ,,Robert Horry is far better (7 rings) ..OH MAN..YOUR AN IDIOT! SMH

    • Sproket says:

      Im going to agree…LBJ must be the greatest player ever….championships are won by teams, not individuals….LeBron as an individual is undeniably the best, most unstoppable force anyone has ever seen….as far as clutch goes…games 6 as a whole was CLUTCH in every meaning of clutch….with that being said LBJ number 1.

  25. ddddd says:

    Sefolosha is Mr. Nobody, but…….. So was Bruce Bowen back in the day in which he was called a Kobe-stopper….. (reality he was not a Kobe-stopper…. Bowen was the player that annoyed Kobe the most) This allows the stars to be stars for OKC. My question is who guards Bosh and who stays in the paint to be the last line out of Ibaka and Perkins? Wade proved that he can be annoyed into a subpar game during the Celtic and especially the Pacer series. Lebron will get his numbers. If I were OKC…. I would play Wade straight up with Sefolosha. Chalmers can’t handle Westbrook so other than the occasional bailout 3 there is nothing to worry about there….. I would give Lebron different looks throughout the game with Ibaka, Harden, and Durant switching off guarding him as well as switching from man to man to zone and back frequently. The rest of the way just simply man up and do your role. Lebron will have numbers, but if nobody else has their averages OKC will win. OKC is too deep.

  26. SM says:

    No doubt that Heat is a better team.
    But it is largely depend on Coches design for players match up and lineups.
    If Heat coach try to play with an small lineup again like the Boston series, They dont have a chance to win the OKC series.
    If Heat uses some size and play with bigger size lineup, Heat has much more chance to win the series.
    Heat definitly need big men in position 4 and 5.

  27. Loud City says:

    Thunder will win in 6. Miami will not win it this time.

  28. Tom says:

    He will have his hands full with Lebron and D-Wade.

  29. stuff says:

    okc is more experienced and heres a stat in 1999, humble tim duncan (
    TD) led his team in a lockout shortened season to win his first of four titles, and hes a HOF like jordan, bryant,Bird
    now in 2012 in a lockout shortened season, humble KD will lead the tunder to his first of 4 titles and he will be a future hall of fmaer

    • uoykcuf says:

      because humble will win? lol. I like humble people as well but that doesn’t make them winners

  30. MuzaffarOKC says:

    Loosen up n relax heat Fans.Welcome to OKC n Thunder country n do Thunder up.Go OKC!!!

  31. Swizz Guy says:

    Go Thabo!

    You spoiled americans, here in switzerland we have nothing to watch and debate like you, sportswise. Basketball is really a sport not happening in commercial events, or shown in tv. DO YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS to see Thabo’s reputation start to change that slowly? Its great. So give this guy more love, so he can deliver the ballin message to more ppl over here…

    ITS AWESOME, nowadays when the swiss national team is playing, you see thabo carrying the offensive load, and that is amazing. Every time he scores 20+, also in spectacular ways! For example….

    YOU WILL **********

    Still, our team has no chance to go anywhere, but hey, even the bobcats got fans ;)

    OKC’s big 3 is at a comparable level than Miamis, its a good matchup. BUT Thunder is deeper, also more productive on the boards. They’ll win it all, which is fair considering their path: they swept the Champ, beat the lakers and beat the no. 1 team, the spurs.
    Start of the playoffs I didn’t believe they could go all the way, but they have proven..! Miami almost did not survive the east, which make them look at bit weak.

  32. DatBoiScoot says:

    Thunder have way to much depth to get swept or lose in game 5. Their starting 5 compared to Miami’s, have them beat at the 4 and 5, not to mention that they have way better role players. The way i see it the Heat is the weaker team due to mismatches on the inside giving the Thunder an advantage on the boards and points in the painted area. Then again you gotta remember anything can happen, but the thunder definitely have the upper hand in this match up.

  33. J.LAGAZ says:

    Thunders in 6…….Say No More

  34. DatBoiScoot says:

    Thunder have way to much depth to get swept or lose in game 5. Their starting 5 compared to Miami’s, have them beat at the 4 and 5, not to mention that they have way better role players. The way i see it the Heat is the weaker team due to mismatches on the inside giving the Thunder an advantage on the boards and points. Then again you gotta remember anything can happen, but the thunder definitely have the upper hand in this match up.

  35. LOLakers says:

    @cool knicks fan- Your name should be sore knicks fan. The Heat have the three greatest players in the NBA and Lebron has shown he can beat a team all by himself (Boston game 6 ring a bell?). If Wade plays like his usual self it’s over for the Blunder! That trophy is practically ours but we have to go through the motions of beating the latest team that thinks it can beat us! Heat in 4 or 5, I guarantee it!!!

    • Thunder says:

      You are a sad fan, my friend. You will be crying after the finals are over.

    • QuestionMark says:

      Your name says “Lakers” but your a Heat fan? Bandwagon much? Lebron beat a team by himself in 1 game, I would like to see him do that in a 7 game series. For one he still hasn’t shown he can hit clutch shots, while Durant already hit about 4 in the Playoffs. Plus KD beat the Spurs by himself by scoring 16 straight points. Its sad you think the Heat will beat the Thunder in 4 when the Heat had to win in Game 7 against one of the oldest teams in the league, when they actually should have won in 5 but Lebron and Wade, mainly Lebron choked in the last few minutes ( He missed a wide open 3 in Game 3) and the Celtics werent actually playing all that great, while Thunder beat out quite possibly the favourites to win a championship and was currently on a 20 game win streak, with Manu playing his best basketball of the Playoffs. It just shows Thunder have enough talent to win. Besides Lebron, Wade and Bosh, who else is gonna score? KD, Westbrook, Harden all can score and you can add Ibaka, Fisher and Sefolosha in there.

  36. jimbo999 says:

    Sefolosha who?

    • Amber says:

      It’s actually Thabo Sefolosha. And who is he? One of the best defenders playing in the Finals. Someone who helped the Thunder tremendously when beating the Spurs. He’s a great player! Give him his credit!!!

  37. Aram says:

    Heat is the underdog perhaps, but seeing LBJ in the game against Boston tells us that this is a different LBJ this year. LBJ will unleash Jordan Mode. Thunder maybe deep but the game is played only 5 v 5 players, so put your rotations like mixed nuts but still its a game 5 v 5

    • Amber says:

      Yeah the problem is that the Heat will have to rest their only 5 good players at some point so once they let the other bad players play against even the Thunder’s deep bench they will be getting their butts kicked. The Thunder has more talent than the Heat… They don’t stand a chance to the Thunder. LBJ can’t carry them the whole way to thru the Finals… He even gets tired. Kevin Durant at least has some help off the bench. The Thunder will win… Hands down. It will be a good series though!!! :)

  38. Buky lequigan says:

    Thunders have less experienced and their superstars didn’t even yet get to the nba finals until now…..They already struggle in spurs but miami can beat spurs as easy as making an boiling water……i think it’s miami’s time….Miami in 4 for sre nah……naglisud man gne sila sa apurs unsa nka kaha sa heat nga ngilngig kaayo nkaduwa si lebron,wade og bosh…..

    • Aram says:

      naglisud man gne sila sa apurs unsa nka kaha sa heat nga ngilngig kaayo nkaduwa si lebron,wade og bosh….. : This language is bisaya, please write in english only.

    • Amber says:

      This is a very funny posting… The Heat will not win. They don’t have a chance. The Thunder are very experienced. They beat the reigning champs, the Lakers and the “undefeatable” Spurs. All of the teams they beat are very very experienced and all of them have rings under their belts but the Thunder still beat them. The Heat would have gotten crushed by the Spurs and seeing that the Thunder beat the Spurs. They didn’t struggle with the Spurs. They watched how they played for two games and adjusted and realized they could beat them… Thunder in 5 or 6 tops. FYI: If you actually watched basketball you would know there is no chance for the Heat to sweep the Thunder. Not a chance in the world!!!!

  39. Louis Tumblin says:

    Sefolosha defense on Wade will be key in this series.

  40. cool knicks fan says:

    Thunder in 6, they are too deep and too good for the Heat. Wade and James will get their points and moments, but Sefolosha is a great defender. Thunder are a 100x better at the 4 and 5. All Miami has is Bosh. The Thunder have great interior defense while Miami is not good at that area. The Thunder have better role players and Miami has a tiny edge in the Big 3 category. So this series will come down too role plaers, and that is why OKC will win.

  41. Z says:

    Said it before, this is OKCs 8th playoff series in 3 years. They got guys in Perkins and Fisher who’ve been in the finals before. You don’t beat the Spurs 4 straight times by being inexperienced kids. Thunder in 6, including a breakout performance by Harden where he lights up the Heat for 30-5-5.

  42. Steven says:

    Calling the Thunder inexperienced is a bit off. Kevin Durant has been in the league for five years, making the playoffs the last 3. Perkins has a ring and they also have fisher. The Thunder’s starting five may be young but they definitely aren’t rookies.

  43. Airball says:

    Swiss power !

  44. Fedor says:

    LOLakers really? Too inexperienced lmao… What does that even mean anymore? They beat the Mavs, Lakers and Spurs I don’t think it’s a question of experience anymore

  45. LOLakers says:

    Blunder are too inexperienced. Heat in 4or 5!!!

    • REALLYDUDE says:

      You really think the Heat sweep the Thunder? LOL. Do you watch basketball?

    • Chris says:

      Heat are only 3 deep. Thunder have interior defense that Heat have yet to face and are 9-10 deep. They have faced their own adversity the past couple years and have an extreme coaching advantage: Thunder in 6

    • cool knicks fan says:

      Do you anything about basketball? Heat will NEVER sweep OKC. They won’t be able to beat them in 5 too. Booth Derek Fisher and Perkins got into the Finals before. The Thunder are a lot deeper than Miami which is very important in the Finals. The Thunder actually have more than one talented big. You don’t know anything about basketball, Thunder in 6.

    • QuestionMark says:

      Inexperienced? They beat 3 out of the last 4 champions, Dallas, L.A and SA. So inexperienced isn’t a factor anymore, they are battle tested especially against the Spurs, if they are so “inexperienced” then the Spurs would have ran through them in 4 or 5 especially with the way they were playing, but OKC has proven they are an elite team by beating the Spurs 4 straight games. I personally don’t think Heat have a chance, Westbrook is too quick, Durant is too long, Ibaka is the best shot blocker in the league, Perkins is arguably the best post defender in the game, Sefolosha is one of the best defenders in the league, and Harden is the sixth man. All the Heat have is the MVP, OKC has the scoring leader, the 6th man and the top shot blocker. I think this series will come down to whether or not Sefolosha can contain Wade, how well the Heat players besides the big 3 play and if Harden can score consistently because we all know Westbrook, KD and Lebron will score. It all comes down to whether or not Chalmers, Miller, Jones, Battier and on OKC’s side, Fisher, Sefolosha, Ibaka, Perkins can play well night in and night out.

      • rareair1 says:

        Haha! ‘all the heat have is the MVP’ Oh, is that all….lol Besides from offensive transition I can’t see OKC winning this battle, especially if the heat execute as well as they did in the last 2 games Vs C’s. Bosh can take Ibaka out of the paint with his range, Sefolosha cant leave Wade which leaves James 1on1 against Durant on the perimeter. I’d take James in that one as he is almost the same height, far stronger and a bit quicker than KD. This puts KD in foul trouble, end of game. Will be interesting to see who starts on Westbrook, Battier or Chalmers, considering Harden coming off the bench. If Heat start Chalmers, look for Westbrook to explode in the first quarter, but if Battier starts then it could come down to conditioning towards the end of the game in which case you’d give the Thunder the edge. Still, Believe it or not I think the Heat are actually deeper than the Thunder in the sense that they have more players to use which will give them a huge advantage in the fouls department. Although OKC are a great FT shooting team, I would much prefer a team having to earn their points from the line than get given easy shots, I think heat can afford to do that hence another reason they will win. It will be close as both KD & James are superstars. I think James’s will is stronger. Heat win 4-2.

    • Thunder says:

      He’s a Lakers fan, he’s still ticked that the Thunder went through them like butter in the conference semis

    • KD. says:

      Must be your first day watching NBA…Heat have struggled much more to get to the same point with the Thunder

  46. Amitpal says:

    I love the thebo comparison to Bruce Bowen. He’s not there yet but he will be there soon. Thunder r a lot like the younger version of the spurs. Just more exciting to watch and a lot more potential.

    • Daniel Vazquez says:

      Thebo is a lot more athletic than Bowen ever was, and Bowen was probably a better shooter than Thebo will ever be. Still, it will be a very interesting game. I think OKC will win because their 3 stars complement each other more, and OKC’s roleplayers are better than Miami’s roleplayers. Let’s see. I’m looking forward to it…

    • go thunder says:

      bowen was one of the dirtiest defenders ever. havent seen thabo do any of that stuff yet, mad respect for him. but go heat

  47. Bev says:

    Awesome Match-Up !! Win or loose I am a Heat Fan. LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and all the other
    guys on the team are History Makers! Gooo Heat.

    • eknujsra says:

      Yes! Go Heat! This is series is gonna be epic!

      • johnny says:

        I wouldn’t say that Lebron, Wade, and Bosh have made history, I would say the owners have made the history by purchasing the players. I still think that Bosh should get traded and the heat should get some more role players.

      • uoykcuf says:

        johhny salty much? Purchase? They all take a dip in their salary in order this to work. What does free agent means?

    • Lungi says:

      The finals are definately gonna be interesting to watch. Whatever happens, I am #TEAMHEAT!!!!!!!!! I hope the guys do us proud :)