Heat-Thunder Finals Matchup Just What NBA Needs After Lockout-Shortened SeasonPublished June 12, 2012
MOST ANTICIPATED MATCHUP: In Ft. Worth, Dwain Price writes Durant against James is the “most anticipated NBA Finals matchup since 1991 when Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls met Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.” It is “even conjuring up images of record-breaking TV ratings, of Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics facing Johnson and the Lakers in the 1984, '85 and '87 NBA Finals” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/12). In New Orleans, Jimmy Smith writes the Thunder and Heat “can offer a best-of-seven series that features similar equations of stardom and almost equal talent throughout the course of the 12-man active rosters.” The matchup “expected to take center stage is James vs. Durant, scoring machine vs. scoring machine, perceived evil vs. good” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/12). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes, “In this Star Wars Finals that comes to Oklahoma City, it's not just Good vs. Evil. It's Lovable vs. Evil. It's America's sweethearts against the Galactic Empire.” The Thunder “is the team America loves to love,” while the Heat “is the team America loves to see lose” (OKLAHOMAN, 6/12).
CLASH OF THE TITANS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Scott Cacciola wrote there is “little doubt that we've got the best pair of competing claimants to the title of world's greatest basketball player” in the Finals with James and Durant (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/11). In New Orleans, Peter Finney wrote, “Whatever transpires, the NBA has to be happy.” Durant is a guy “many say is the ‘best player’ in the league,” while in James, “you have the league MVP” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/11). In Houston, Jerome Solomon writes under the header, “LeBron-Durant Has Makings Of A Magic-Bird Type Rivalry.” The Heat and Thunder coming together in the NBA Finals “should be that good nasty stuff,” and “could provide just the storm to raise the league to new heights” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/12). In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen compares James and Durant to Johnson and Bird writes there are "unmistakable similarities between the great players from the 1980's and the two greatest players in the NBA today." Sorensen: "One is that they compel you to watch them" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/12).
RUNNING OUT OF ROOM: In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis reports standing-room only tickets “were all that remained” yesterday for the Heat's first two home games in the NBA Finals. Fans were still “able to purchase a spot on viewing platforms just beneath the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena for $155 at Heat.com.” A team spokesperson said that additional blocks of tickets “will likely be made available approaching each game.” The Heat are "obligated to hold back tickets for the league, the opposing team and the television network.” Any that “aren't used are released for sale to the public, usually on game day or the day before.” Davis noted as of yesterday, the Finals “were a slightly hotter ticket in Oklahoma City than in Miami, based on average prices on the secondary market.” SeatGeek Communications Dir Will Flaherty said that the average price for Game One in Oklahoma City “was $618, for Game 2 $499” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/12).
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