The 2012 NBA playoffs have officially become quite interesting. It really looked as though the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs were on a crash course for one another in the NBA Finals, as they were both up 2-0 in their respect conference finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics could have both been had at some remarkable prices at that point, with OKC being as good as about 6 to 1, and Boston being as high as 50 to 1 at some online sportsbooks. However, the scripts have been flipped at this point, and the situation is a heck of a lot more interesting with a ton of variables.
We’ll start in the West, where the Thunder have all of a sudden not just stopped San Antonio’s 20-game winning streak, but they have rolled off three straight victories as well. Thanks to the efforts of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and a lot of the role players like Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City is just one win away from its first NBA Finals. Now, the Thunder are the favorites to win the NBA Finals at +145 at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
That leaves the Spurs in some trouble. They are +415 right now to win it all, and it was only about a week ago that they were odds on favorites. All of a sudden, the team looks old, and San Antonio’s role players that were consistently coming up with good efforts are failing when they have to make plays. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are starting to look like a bit of an old trio against the youthful Thunder. However, if there is a team that you would want to play on with its back in the corner, this would be the team, as there aren’t all that many situations in which San Antonio and its veterans haven’t played in and succeeded in.
In the East, the Heat are still the overwhelming favorites. They are the +165 favorites to win it all out of the East, while the Celtics are still easily the longest shots on the board at +1200.
We are definitely questioning Miami right now, though. When it has come time to put away games in the clutch, the Heat have struggled at times this year and in the past, and losing Game 4 in Beantown was the perfect example of just that happening. LeBron James didn’t get the final shot off of regulation, and the team went on to score just two points in a very frustrating overtime period. The good news for the Heat is that Chris Bosh is expected to be back in the fold soon, potentially as early as Tuesday night’s Game 5.
Head Coach Doc Rivers warned the rest of the world following the win in Game 4 of this series that his Celtics haven’t played their best basketball yet, and they haven’t put together a complete 48 minute game yet. If that really is the case, and the C’s do find some more to give, they might be the steal of the moment on the NBA Finals betting lines at 12 to 1. Rajon Rondo is almost certainly the MVP of the playoffs, and there is no denying that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett still have game to get the job done.
The NBA Finals could be set as soon as Thursday. Miami will host Boston on Tuesday night in Game 5, and whichever team takes that clash could close out the series and take the Eastern Conference crown on Thursday night back at the TD Garden. If there is a Game 7, it will take place at American Airlines Arena on Saturday night.
Out West, Oklahoma City will be hosting the Spurs for Game 6 on Wednesday. Should San Antonio come on the road and win the game, it will earn a trip back to the AT&T Center, where it would play the do-or-die Game 7 against the Thunder on Friday.