Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
What do you expect to be different in Miami? Anything? Everything?
Steve Aschburner: Fewer pickup trucks? More empty seats at tipoff? Oh, you mean on the court. Well, as stated elsewhere, I’ll be shocked if Oklahoma City doesn’t start games better from now on. But the biggest difference resulting from change of venue will be big help from a couple others in Miami’s supporting cast. Namely Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. They’ll be more comfortable in familiar surroundings and might ease the burden on Shane Battier to continue playing above his head. Still, this series could be played in Poughkeepsie and it ultimately would come down to the “big six” of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Chris Bosh and James Harden. That doesn’t change.
Fran Blinebury: Only the swimwear. You can go topless on South Beach. Very little on the court. I always thought this would be a highly entertaining, highly competitive series that’s going six or seven games. If the Thunder can get two in Miami — and it’s possible — then we’ll really find out what the Heat are made of.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Nothing. I thought it would be a close series all along — the pick was Thunder in 7 — and I think the next three games will be a continuation of the last two. If Miami can get a big win, though, that will mean a slight change. The Heat being able to lighten the minutes on its stars, even for a night, pays big dividends because OKC has the advantage in depth. The more Miami is able to succeed with a seven-man rotation, the better off it is.
Shaun Powell: There’s no home-court advantage in this series, so the shift in venue means nothing. Besides, nobody every confused American Airlines Arena with a snakepit anyway. The next three games will be like the first two. They’re all going down to the final three or four possessions, folks. The stars must step up and the ball must bounce right. And even then, we’ll probably still be forced to wait until the series returns to OKC before getting a champion.
John Schuhmann: I don’t think much will change and it does feel like all of the games will come down to the final few minutes. But I suspect we might get an Eastern Conference-style (ugly) game or two in the next week. I also think that Chris Bosh will continue to trend up, making more of an impact as the series goes on.
Sekou Smith: The weather, the nightlife and the scenery is all going to be drastically different now that this series has shifted to South Beach. But the spirit of the competition between these two teams won’t change a bit. They’ve gone after each other in all of the ways most of us expected before the action began. A time zone change won’t have any impact on that one way or another. The Heat didn’t appear to be rattled at all at their surroundings in Oklahoma City and the same should be expected of the Thunder, who have been road warriors throughout this postseason. If you thought this series was fantastic through two games, you won’t be disappointed with Games 3, 4 and 5.