By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s that time of year again, you know, the end of Spring where football is far away, baseball is boring, and all we can do is get jealous of other cities who get to watch their sports teams compete in the NBA Championship and the Stanley Cup Finals.
In the NBA, the Heat and Spurs are the last two teams standing for the second straight season, the first finals rematch since 1998. The Heat became only the third NBA franchise to reach four straight finals, as they look for the first three-peat since the Lakers in 2000-2002. The Spurs are making back-to-back finals appearances for the first time in franchise history.
Series line (per Bovada LV): Miami Heat +105, San Antonio Spurs -125
Prediction: Miami in seven
LeBron James. The guy is on a mission, how can you pick against him? Unless you’re a certified LeBron hater, which many are, you have to acknowledge how impressive he’s been. He’s dominating games like we’ve never seen before, averaging 27.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 5.0 APG, while shooting better than 56 percent from the field and playing virtually every position on the floor this post-season. For the record, his regular season numbers were even slightly better. A third straight ring for LeBron, who broke Michael Jordan’s record for the most 25 point, 5 rebound, 5 assists career playoff games earlier in the post-season, will creep him into MJ’s realm of greatness even further.
Norris Cole has improved, Chris Bosh is sneakily one of the most efficient mid-range players in the game, Dwayne Wade looks healthier than he did a year ago, also shooting 50 percent this post-season, and Ray Allen is always a threat in big games.
The Spurs, on the other hand, are very deep. They’re a machine. The personnel job the Spurs do year in and year out is truly astonishing. Gregg Popovic has eight or nine solid contributors, including the greatest power-forward to ever lace them up, in Tim Duncan. Kawhi Leonard, at only 22-years-old, is one of the most underrated players in the NBA and defensively, has the ability to kind-of annoy King James. Kind of. The reassurgence of Manu Ginobli has been impressive and the Heat will definitely have to earn everything this series against an excellent Spurs team. Tony Parker’s ankle injury is something to keep an eye on as well.
This series goes back and forth, but James and Miami prevails in a game seven for the ages.
In the NHL, the New York Rangers face the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. It is the Rangers first finals appearance since 1994. The Kings, on the other hand, are looking fto hoist the Lord Stanley for the second time in the last three years.
For us Flyers fans, we can either root for the Kings aka “Flyers West”, with Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and Justin Williams or the hated Rangers who eliminated the Flyers in the first-round.
Series line (per Bovada LV): New York Rangers +150, Los Angeles Kings -170
NHL Prediction: Kings in six games
The Kings have remarkably needed to win three straight game seven’s to reach the Cup Finals this year, and they just won’t be denied. With star power on offense like Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Justin Williams and Drew Doughty defensively, plus Jonathan Quick in net, the Kings are simply too talented for the Rangers.
However, we all know one of the greatest equalizers in all of sports in the goalie, and the Rangers have one of the best, in Henrik Lundqvist. King Henrik has been outstanding in the 2014 playoffs, going 12-7 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.03 goals against average, making many highlight-reel saves.
Lundqvist will keep the Rangers in the series, but ultimately the King will be too much.