This is a continuation of my preview of each important player outside of LeBron and Durant in this year’s 2012 NBA Finals.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
SG – James Harden: Since last post season and most of this year’s NBA regular season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been regarded as Durant and Westbrook’s team. However, the bearded man from the bench is starting to make a push in making the Thunder have a Big 3 of their own in Oklahoma City. We all knew James Harden was the 3rd best player for the Thunder since last post season, but we never given him the right to be on the same level of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the team. Durant is still the captain for sure, but Harden may be the better floor general for the Thunder than Westbrook. People have criticized Westbrook for not being a good point guard for the team, I agree. However, I do believe Westbrook is still a great teammate and team player for the Thunder. Westbrook needs to score and he can certainly do that. With Westbrook taking care of that department, Harden can focus on making great plays especially down the stretch by either finding the open guy, creating double teams, and most of all scoring in different ways. Harden can dunk as you can see on the picture on the left. Sorry Tiago. Although, Harden is well known for his three point shooting which he has utilized to the max in the Thunder’s 2012 NBA Playoffs campaign. In Game 5 in San Antonio, with the series knotted at 2 games apiece and with a not-so-comfortable 4th quarter lead, Harden struck the hearts of all Spurs fans with a beat-the-shot-clock three pointer. As usual, after making a three pointer, Harden would run back and show off his three fingers of both hands, however, that time he didn’t spread his wings. Nevertheless, it was simply awesome. Harden will have to be that kind of 6th Man of the Year recipient in this year’s NBA Finals against the star-studded Miami Heat. Each of the members of the Big 3 in Miami are All-Stars and have proven themselves worthy of participating in the NBA Finals and even winning an NBA championship. Harden is the only member of the Thunder’s Big 3 that hasn’t made the All-Star team, but he can certainly prove himself worthy of that praise if he can help lead his team to an NBA championship.
PF – Chris Bosh: Just like Harden, in a way, Bosh is the least among the Big 3. Although Harden’s position in OKC’s Big 3 is easily debatable with the criticisms Westbrook has received until today. Nonetheless, we can safely say that Bosh is the least among the Big 3 in South Beach. LeBron and Wade have both won All-Star MVP’s, Scoring Titles, and one has been/is a Regular Season MVP and the other has been an NBA Finals MVP. All Bosh has achieved mostly in his career has been making it to the All-Star game and before making his way to South Beach, he has never even gone passed the 1st round. In just two years with the Heat, he has made the NBA Finals twice. When the Big 3 was formed and during their first stint together multiple people would not normally acknowledge the importance of Chris Bosh to the Heat team. Fortunately, in a way for Bosh, when Chris Bosh went down with some injuries during this year’s regular season, critics and fans began to realize how important Chris Bosh is. Bosh’s importance would be more realized in the 2012 NBA Playoffs when he went down with an injury in Game 1 against Indiana. The abdominal strain injury made him miss a few weeks of the post season. Luckily for the Heat, they managed to survive during the entire time Bosh was out. The Heat eliminated the young Pacers in 6 games and held on to a 2-2 series tie with the Boston Celtics in the following round. Throughout the Eastern Conference Finals, Dwyane Wade was being smothered as was not allowed to get himself into the game as he would want to and help out LeBron who was doing most of the work. Moreover, both LeBron and Wade were unable to make most of their free throws during the entire series. In Game 5, Bosh came back. Although the Heat lost that game and Bosh didn’t have that big of an impact, we all knew that Bosh could change the course of this series. And he did, with a “little” help from LeBron in Game 6. With Bosh’s ability to score inside and out, the Celtics’ defense inside came out which allowed drivers to come in and come out with 2 points or an and-one. In Game 7 against the Celtics at the Triple A, Bosh made three pointer after three pointer in the game, especially in the critical fourth quarter. When Bosh plays like that and when everyone else from the Heat’s Big 3 pour in 18+ points each with one scoring 25 or more, the Heat are unstoppable, and it’s all because of Bosh.