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NBA Finals 2012: Kevin Durant, LeBron James Headline Series Made For Television

The NBA powers-that-be must be praising the gods above. Or else they are patting themselves on the back for setting it up themselves. I suppose it all depends on your belief (or disbelief) in NBA conspiracy theories. However, in the end, there’s no doubting that the 2012 NBA Finals pitting the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder is a ratings dream featuring two of the biggest stars in the game: LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Both James and Durant are young, charismatic players with an ability to take control of the game and carry the team down the stretch. They have no real weaknesses to speak of and should be exciting to watch for all parties involved. The series also features some incredible storylines to follow as well on a team level.

For OKC, there’s no one who believes that this is the only time Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will go this deep into the playoffs. This team is set up for a run of dominance like few teams ever have the chance to enjoy. It’s a masterwork of roster architecture, and the Thunder are likely Finals contenders for the next half-decade sans injuries or major roster changes. For many, this is the coming out party everyone was waiting on.

For the Heat, the opposite is true. The team was set up with a core to compete at a dominant level immediately, yet somehow the talent on paper hasn’t translated the way they hoped. Miami’s ownership has to be excited to see LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh make it to the Finals, but now they must win. If those three cannot earn a ring at some point, then it will be among the biggest failures in NBA history given the tremendous expectations placed upon them — fair or not.

The pressure will be on Miami to perform in this one, which gives OKC a bit of freedom to be themselves and not force the game in any way. That doesn’t insinuate that the Thunder roster is not filled with players hungry for a title. It’s just that the perception from the media will be tilted toward LeBron having to finally win a ring to justify his place among the game’s greats.

On both sides, it’s going to likely lead to some great ratings for every game played. Things turned out exactly the way the NBA was hoping.