The Miami Heat is the heavy in the NBA Finals. But also the underdog. Funny how that works.
It’s like ESPN analyst (and Basketball Hall of Famer) Chris Mullin said: “Who would ever think when they got this team together two years ago, that they would be an underdog?”
But it’s true. The Thunder is both the betting favorite and the sentimental favorite. For the Tuesday Oklahoman, I wrote about the Thunder being the people’s choice. You can read that column here.
The Thunder’s Derek Fisher, who with the Lakers has played on his share of teams that most certainly weren’t America’s sweethearts, said, “If (being) the people’s choice could help us win games, maybe I’d feel differently. But with all due respect, there’s not much they can do for us on the court. We’re playing against the Miami Heat, we’re in a good position in terms of the people’s choice being on our homecourt and having our home fans to open up tomorrow night. But overall, at the end of the day, it’s about our mentality and our approach to the situation and we’ll let those parts of it kind of take care of itself.”
Daequan Cook said the Thunder earned its position as the darling of the NBA. “We put ourselves in this position to be the way we are right now,” Cook said. “We earned that right to get the praise that we did right now, by playing hard. We like that. We know we earned it and how much we’re respected now being a group of young guys just one step from the championship.”
The Heat’s Mike Miller said such talk is just normal Finals plots. “Obviously there’s always storylines to everything that happens,” Miller said. “Our team was maybe constructed a little differently than their team was. Oklahoma’s a little different than Miami is. There’s always going to be storylines. But the bottom line, villains or the love of people, both the teams are out for the same reason, and it’s going to make it fun.”