Miami knocks off the champs in six games
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Most of us who collected basketball cards in the 1980s and 90s remember the euphoria we felt. The anticipation forced our heart to beat out of our chest as we slowly tore the foil away from the 12 rectangular pieces of possible fortune (in a Beckett that would be $1.25 ^). As you slid one card away from the next, you yearned for his card more than any other.
Then, as you held your breath, it appeared before you. Middle name Jeffrey, last name Jordan was all you needed to see to realize you had hit the adolescent lottery of sports memorabilia.
The exhilarating rush of excitement would last for hours as you bragged to your friends about your latest treasure that they did not possess.
NBA commissioner David Stern probably experienced the same sensation and ensuing moments of "I (our league) just hit the jackpot!" pride, following Chris Bosh's and then LeBron James' announcements that the two were headed to Miami to team up with Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Heat.
Mixed EmotionsWhat do we make of the South Beach trio?
Now imagine, eight months from now, Stern's reaction if the Heat reach the 2011 NBA Finals and face...wait for it...the Los Angeles Lakers.
Forget one-on-one, LeBron vs Kobe for seven games, try a one-of-one limited edition Michael Jordan autographed basketball card with a game worn jersey fused into it as if NASA, and not Fleer Ultra, were responsible. Ya, Stern and the NBA would hit a much needed payday.
Like the young boy at the counter of his local card shop ready to add another #23 to his collection, the Lakers versus Heat is the NBA Finals most fans will crave this coming June.
But thanks to Whatifsports.com's NBA simulation engine, you don't have to wait that long. We have simulated a Lakers versus Heat Best-of-Seven series 1001 times. In this simulation we gave the Miami Heat home court advantage in the 2-3-2 NBA Finals format.
One other footnote that needs mentioning is that this simulation is using each players' stats from the 2009-10 season. Needless to say we don't have any statistics from the 2010-11 season, but it should be known that because of our sophisticated NBA simulation engine, just because LeBron, Bosh and Wade are on the same team, their average points per game will not equate to the trio combining for 90 points each game in this series.
2011 NBA Finals - 1001 Simulations
|Los Angeles Lakers||18.9||98.9||2|
Pat Riley's decision to liquidate the Miami Heat over the last few seasons so that he would have a chance to acquire Lebron and Bosh falls somewhere between general managing excellence and lunacy. But much like the suave and polished hairstyle of Miami's moneyman, the plan fell into place smoothly and South Beach has a sleek new look.
The results on the court will also keep Heat fans fulfilled for the time being. In our 2011 NBA Finals simulation, Miami dominates the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Erik Spolestra's (remember he's the coach) team wins 81.1-percent of the series over Kobe and company by an average score of 103.5-98.9.
The 81-percent series success rate equates to a 4-2 Miami Heat NBA Finals series win.
Below is our 2011 NBA Finals game-by-game summary and interactive box score.
|Los Angeles Lakers||101||Boxscore|
|Miami Heat||108||Create NBA Dream Team|
The Los Angeles Lakers made themselves right at home to kick off the 2011 NBA Finals. The only issue was home lasted all of one quarter.
|Player||PPG in NBA Finals|
LA opened up an 11-point lead after the first 12-minutes of play only to watch the Miami Heat chip away the next three quarters.
Dwyane Wade led the way for the Heat in Game 1, scoring 33 points, dishing out nine assists and corralling five rebounds. LeBron chipped in with 17, nine and seven.
Kobe and Pau Gasol did their part to try and break serve in game one. The duo combined for 43 points and 29 rebounds. However, the Lakers as a team will need to shoot better than 41.4-percent to beat this trio of Miami talent.
The Heat take Game 108-101.
|Los Angeles Lakers||109||Boxscore|
|Miami Heat||103||Create NBA Dream Team|
The Los Angeles Lakers flipped the script in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals, finishing with a strong kick rather than an explosive start.
Trailing by one with a little over 4-minutes to play the Lakers' Shannon Brown was fouled on a three-point attempt. Brown proceeded to knock down all three free throws and give LA the lead for good.
Pau Gasol cannot be contained in this NBA Finals simulation. The big man scored 31 points and ripped down 21 rebounds, exploiting the Heat's lack of size in the interior.
LeBron was the leading scorer for the Heat with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 8 dimes.
However, the Lakers pulled the upset they needed heading back to the West coast.
Los Angeles wins Game 2, 109-103 to tie the series and 1-1.
|Los Angeles Lakers||105||Create NBA Dream Team|
The Lakers returned to the Staples Center primed to release a roar off the opening tip. A collective thud was all that could be heard after an underachieving 13-point first quarter resulted in a 13-point deficit.
|Player||RPG in NBA Finals|
The added degree of difficulty was no challenge for Los Angeles as their slow start quickly turned into an all-out rally on offense and lock down your opponent defense.
In the quarters that followed, Phil Jackson watched his team outscore the Heat by 16, 8 and 9 points and held Miami to under 40-percent from the floor.
Pau Gasol manhandled the Heat once again providing 20 points and 15 rebounds in LA's 105-85 beat down of the Heat.
Chris Bosh led the Heat with 23 points in a losing effort.
The Lakers lead the series 2-1.
|Los Angeles Lakers||101||Create NBA Dream Team|
The Miami Heat finished the third quarter on a 15-4 run to create enough distance between them and the Lakers to even this series up at 2-games.
Five players, including Eddie House off the bench, scored in double-digits for the Heat in Game 4. Dwyane Wade once again led the team. He may have only scored 13 points, but added 13 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals to do the little things for his team.
Kobe Bryant was the high scorer for LA with 24 points, while Lamar Odom finished with a double-double.
Miami's 112-101 win at Staples Center makes Game 5 a must-read simulation.
|Los Angeles Lakers||101||Create NBA Dream Team|
|Player||3-pt% in NBA Finals|
LeBron James is one win away from raising his first Larry O'Brien trophy. And in this game "The Chosen One" contributed in all areas to lift his team to a monster Game 5 win and control the series at 3-2.
LBJ was one assist shy of finishing the game with a triple-double, but did tally 27 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists to easily walk away with Player of the Game honors. His teammates picked up the rest of the slack shooting 52.6-percent from the floor and, in a rare occurrence, out-rebounding the Lakers 48-43.
Kobe, who led all scorers with 32, now must lead his Lakers back to Miami and win the final two games against a red-hot Heat team who showed no signs of slowing down in Game 5.
|Los Angeles Lakers||98||Boxscore|
|Miami Heat||107||Create NBA Dream Team|
Yes. They. Did.
Pat Riley's master plan to unite three of the NBA's best in Miami paid off in the end.
The trio combined for 68 points in the series clincher and brought the NBA Finals trophy back to South Beach.
Chris Bosh played his best game of the series. He scored 25 points and snagged 18 boards in the win.
The Lakers shot under 30-percent from behind the arc as they tried to climb back late in the 4th quarter. Lamar Odom led Los Angeles with 25 points.
LeBron James can sleep easier at night now knowing the one thing that eluded him in his career up until this point has now been achieved.
The Miami Heat are the 2011 NBA Finals champions.
If you thought Pat Riley created a Dream Team in Miami, you haven't seen anything yet. Try Whatifsports.com Dream Team feature and draft any player from any team in NBA history.
Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.