Finals Strategy: Player Versus Self

In the previous rounds of the playoffs, it is easy to get lost on trying to predict who will get the most PRA on a given date. The first round gave us that, with 16 teams playing, picking names like Monta Ellis, Dwight Howard or James Harden are easy to come by. Sometimes, gamers carry that mentality into later rounds. The Finals, however, is not like that.

Any given day, you can guess the top three PRAs: Lebron James, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. But, you can never pick LeBron every day. And some gamers do not have these players available anymore. Guessing that Dwyane Wade will be better than Chris Bosh is easy; you can make that bet in all seven games and you'll come out several bucks richer.

How about pitting a player... against himself. Game 2 Bosh (G2B) versus Game 3 Bosh (G3B) versus Game 4 Bosh (G4B). If for example you predict G2B gets 21 PRA, G3B 29, and G4B 25 (thought process: he will stop hoisting threes and will try to get more rebounds; will play great in first game in Texas; then mellow a bit again). That means you will have to pick Bosh in Game 3. Unless of course when your Game 3 Wade beats your Game 2 Wade and Game 4 Wade ;)

This is where you scour the Web for news and videos (especially postgame interviews) and try to guess if a player has better drive and motivation for the next game. For some, this is where they look at home and away stats, game logs of previous matches, or records in the past depicting same scenario (e.g. Heat being beaten on a Game 1).

My Game 2 pick is Tony Parker, which I already set way before Game 1 finished. Thinking of it again against this Versus Self strategy, I would say yes that Game 2 Parker will be the best Parker going forward. It is just a matter of time before LeBron start asking Coach Spo if he can guard Parker from the get-go. If that happens, I don't think Parker can move as much as he wants. If not, then Game 3 Parker at home may be much better. But I am not waiting that long. He gets my pick now.

Coincidentally, Tony Parker is my coldest pick for Sunday. It's nice when stars align.