Mattís Take:



I can already tell you which road my partner in crime, Andrew, is going to take with our NBA predictions. With his enormous man crush on Dwyane Wade,



itís only a matter of sentences before he says the Miami Heat will repeat as NBA champions.



Sure, the Heat is probably the best team in the association, but Iím not willing to follow his lead. Yeah, my NCAA football predictions were way off, but I feel like Iím going to nail our annual NBA predictions.



Plus, itís my birthday today, so I should have some sort of luck on my side, right?



Anyway, so enough of my babbling and back to the task at hand ó whoís going to win the NBA Finals.



Surveying the Eastern Conference, of course the Heat and the Boston Celtics are the cream of the crop, but look for the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls to make a deep push into the playoffs.



Much to my dismay, the Heat has too much talent and the Celtics have too much experience for the up-and-coming challengers.



Mark my word; the Celtics topple the Heat and advance to the Finals.



In the Western Conference, Oklahoma City, The Lakers and the Spurs are the only teams with a legitimate shot at the title.



With the addition of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, the Lakers will surge past the James Harden-less Thunder into the NBA Finals, treating us to a classic matchup in the Finals.



Whatís not to love about a Lakers and Celtics best-of-seven series?



He may be pushing 40, but donít expect Celtics center Kevin Garnett to give up any ground to Howard, as he leads the Celts to the title in six games.



Andrewís take:
I wish you knew how much I care.



Iím in Brooklyn, weathering Hurricane Sandy, making sure that my take is heard. Thatís right, the perfect storm canít stop the dropping of knowledge.



Plus, this storm is kind of laughable. Itís just an excuse for Americaís largest city to party. And I plan on joining in the festivities.



But back to sports.



The landscape of The Association changed this week, with the dealing of the sixth man of the reigning NBA runner-up.



Does that seem a little too dramatic? Because a basketball teamís success should not hinge on the availability of a bench player.



But James Harden is only a bench player for the first minute of every game. The rest of the time, heís the second or third best player on a championship-caliber team. So the fact that his name is even mentioned when considering the ď6th Man of the YearĒ is horse crap.



To win that award, there should be player at the same position on the same team who is better. Not the case in OKC.



This time last year, I correctly predicted that the Miami Heat would defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals. And this preseason column was going to come with the same outlook, until Harden was dealt to Houston.



Make no mistake in the East, Iím sticking with the Heat. I literally canít imagine that any team will challenge Miami.



The West is interesting, though. I know all eyes will be on the new-look/old-looking Los Angeles Lakers. But Iím not buying it. Theyíre old. Injuries and chemistry will be a huge issue.



Iím looking at the Denver Nuggets. I donít know why more isnít being said about that fact that Andre Igoudala, Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer, JaVale McGee and Danilo Gallinari are all on the same team.



Theyíre my Western pick. But the Heat will repeat.