Here are 10 NBA Finals questions that need to be answered, including the most important one: Who wins?
1. WHO’S BETTER, JAMES OR DURANT?
Flip a coin. Kevin Durant is a three-time scoring champion. LeBron James is a three-time MVP. And this series probably won’t decide if one individual player is better than the other, either. “It’s the Thunder vs. the Heat,” Durant said.
2. CAN LEBRON SILENCE HIS CRITICS WITH A WIN?
Not all of them. Look, no matter what James does — wins a championship, wins a Nobel Peace Prize, never wins another game in his life — he won’t silence everybody. He will get plenty of credit if the Heat win this title, and rightly so.
3. ARE THE THUNDER READY FOR THIS?
Sure. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are 23. Neither has been on this stage. But they handled being down 0-2 to the Spurs. That’s proof enough. “We’re not here just to be here. We’re here to win a championship,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
4. WHO HAS THE BETTER SIXTH MAN?
Well, that’s an easy one, since Oklahoma City’s James Harden is the premier sixth man in the NBA right now. But it may not be as one-sided as many would think if Miami continues using Chris Bosh off the bench. So Harden may have some competition.
5. WHAT’S UP WITH THE POSTGAME OUTFITS?
The glasses-without-lenses that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been wearing, they’re one thing. But, the shirts that Russell Westbrook has been wearing look like they were designed to go with Rodney Dangerfield’s pants in “Caddyshack.”
LeBron James hasn’t tweeted since April 27. Kevin Durant hasn’t tweeted since May 1. In a word, it’s about focus. Playoffs are hard enough without distractions. One of them will tweet in a few days as an NBA champion. That’s enough for them.
7. SHOULD THE BEARD BE FEARED?
James Harden has unbelievable amounts of talent. He’s best known for his mohawk-and-beard look. And one of the gripping Finals questions got an answer from Harden: “The beard’s going to stay. Win or lose,” Harden said.
Wade raises his game in the NBA finals, and for whatever reason, Westbrook has struggled against Miami. Westbrook has shot just 30 percent in his last five games against the Heat. That could spell trouble for the Thunder.
9. WHO HAS THE BEST SIDELINE MOM?
LeBron, Dwyane, Kevin, Russell— everyone knows those names. It might not be long before the same can be said about Jolinda and Wanda. Really. Jolinda Wade (Dwyane Wade’s mom) and Wanda Pratt (Kevin Durant's mom).
10. WHO WILL WIN THE FINALS?
Oklahoma City is 8-0 at home in these playoffs, winning by 10 ppg. But the Heat are driven by the pain of losing in the finals last season. And James may be playing at his highest level yet. So in a championship-or-bust season, HEAT IN SIX.