|Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images|
In the first place, this season didn't have any championship-level teams. The Lakers have collapsed, the Mavericks haven't played at full strength for most of the season, the Spurs and Celtics have both passed their expiration dates, and the Thunder are too young. The same goes for the Bulls, whose bench had the strength to overcome Miami's Big Three until rookie center Omer Asik fractured a leg.
Now that I think of it, none of the Heat's playoff opponents finished at full strength. Asik's departure left the Bulls too weak to keep up, one round after the Celtics lost Rajon Rondo in their series against Miami. In the Finals, whose second game tips off tonight, Dallas is missing Caron Butler, someone who's had great success defending LeBron James.
The other reason the Heat will win is that their cynical style of basketball is impressing the referees. Your offense doesn't need to be efficient if you can trick the refs into constantly calling fouls on the other team. It works for Miami because, unlike earlier implementations of Pat Riley's "force basketball" stratagem, this one's players can shoot free throws. To his credit, Riley also remembered to get players who can defend this time. [For that, Anthony gets my full marks.] But just because the Heat are better at bullying their opponents than the 1990s Knicks doesn't mean I like them any better.
Not that I'm any fan of the Mavericks. In the past, I haven't had the energy to detest Mark Cuban, but was it really necessary to stiff Doris Burke after dismissing Oklahoma City? Maybe I'll like the Mavs better next year, but this just ticked me off. It leaves me wishing that neither team could win the Finals. In fact, I rather feel like I'm being asked to choose between the Ku Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist. At least that matchup is providing some amusement.
Naw, I think I'll catch the Canucks-Bruins series instead.
Update (D-Day + 67y): Okay, this series may not feature the best teams ever, but it now appears to be a contest between evenly matched teams. The Mavs may have moved my forgiveness date way up before this comes to a close.