Welcome To The 2014 NBA Finals!

So here we are again at the epitome of our Drive To The Finals fantasy game, and with us are the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs meeting for the second straight time in the Finals. Each deserves to be here. On one corner stands the reigning NBA Champions the Miami Heat, who has yet to meet a worthy opponent in these playoffs. And on the other corner is that nemesis they are waiting for, the San Antonio Spurs, who are bent to finish the task they failed to do last year. No more Mr. Nice Guy, this is serious, boys and girls. Suit up!

In DTTF, look at what you have left in your Heat and Spurs rosters and those are the chips you have earned in this final table. Don't waste them on reckless gamble. Pick your players wisely on what date, on what floor, on what circumstances. To help you gauge how much your players were already used by the field, here is a rough estimate of their usage so far:

Pretty much half of DTTF still have the Big Threes (or Fours or Fives) from both teams. And if you're like me and have shortage of those stars for the Finals, then you need to constantly review your pick, and make every guess as educated as possible. Here are some tips (in order of importance):

  • Best Four. Choose the best 4 out of your pool, and pick from those four only! Just in case there is a sweep (it has happened), then you are assured you've used your best four. Only when the series gets extended to more games, that's when you add from your pool to your pick group.
  • Injury Factor. Pick players like Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade or Manu Ginobili the earliest as possible due to being prone to injury, or them nursing current ailments. The healthiest they can ever be is Game 1, and will gradually worsen as the series goes on.
  • Texan Bosh. Texan natives like LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh love playing in Texas. Chris Bosh has proven to be pumped up whenever he gets to play near his relatives. Pick him in Game 1, 2 or 5 in San Antonio. Trust me, I've been doing that with him for the past three years.
  • Home Games. Nothing better than home cooking. Some players do play far better at home games. You can research their home and away stats, and see if that affects a player. Try to pick players when they are playing at home. Except of course Bosh :P
  • Early Starters. In Games 1 and 2, use starters that have the chance to be rotated to the bench due to adjustments later in the series. Guys like Tiago Splitter and Chris Andersen (if they are part of your Best Four) like what happened in the last series, belong to this group.
  • Cornered Cats. There are stars who perform better when their backs are against a wall. LeBron James and Tim Duncan are great examples of this. They will not give up, even if they are in a hole. Save one of them for an elimination game.
  • Coldest Pick. [NOTE: Non-compulsory] If you are behind in your league, the Finals is the best round to use this strategy. Avoiding hot picks will give you a chance to catch the ones in front of you, if and only if you use this strategy wisely. In Game 1, gather your Best Four and pick the one with the lowest percentage owned. In Game 2, your Best Three. And so on. I used this last year and lifted me from 92 to 98 percentile just in the Finals (plus I had Big Threes then). If you have only fillers left, if you consistently get around 20 PRA each, then you can raise your percentile by about +1% per pick. Of course, it comes with risks -- pick poorly and you lag behind some more.
  • Hottest Pick. If and only if you are nursing a lead, going with the flow is what you need to do. Chances are, the ones just tailing you are most likely to pick the popular picks; and as long as they have the same pick as yours, they can never overtake you.
  • Scouting. If you have the time and patience to do it, look at former picks of the one you are targeting to overtake (your buddies or a troll in the Trash Talker section in DTTF leagues), and try to figure out who they have left. If it's me you're trying to catch, I'll just tell you here hehe!

Hope this helps. If there is anything I missed, just mention them in the comments.

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  1. It looks like the format has indeed been changed (it's not just a rumor) from having the team with the worse record hosting games 3, 4 and 5 while the better record has the first two and last two (if necessary) at home, to the same format as the first three rounds. This means the Spurs will host G5 and the Heat will host G6 (if necessary) while the rest of the series is in the same location as it would have been with the other format.

    1. Just as it is meant to be. The old format favored to lower seed with that middle 3 games. 2-2-1-1-1 is better. I hope they give a 2-day break in between travels. Well-rested players mean, well-played games.

  2. Alright so i basically planned for this whole finals situation my available players are: Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green. Now i need help making this pick plan...

    1. TD, CB, MG, LBJ to pre-pick.
      Adjust after 1-1 or 2-1.

  3. Nice information Taong, as always....:
    .... Really have enjoyed hanging out with you and everyone in here this year(my first time) I will be back next year.
    Can not believe the 2014 NBA Finals is here !
    One more round guys...
    Congratulations to everyone who has stuck it out. I will not win this year, but will play it out to the end..... Making the leaderboard would be cool :)
    Good luck to those who have a chance to win it....
    "Respect The Game" Go Spurs !!! :)

  4. Okay, the Finals are here. Who do I have left?
    James, Bosh, that´s about it from Miami
    Duncan, Ginobili, Leonard, Green and change from S.A.
    San Antonio in 5 and everything would be okay for me :)

    Who did I have in the conference finals? Let´s see...
    Started great with 31 from Hibbert
    Followed that with a 14 from Splitter (he had 23 the next game)
    Ray Allen from the second round on to game 5 of the conf fins: 26-23-12-19-18-21-7-17-14-18. I had him when he got his 7
    Boris Diaw for 15 (his next games: 18-27-22-32)
    George Hill in the 3rd round: 17-19-12-21-17-18. I picked his 12
    Westbrook as the daily leader with a 41. He had 55 the next game and 49 last night
    Wade as of last game of 2nd round: 33-32-33-31-19-33-25. I had him for his playoff-low 19
    Jackson in this round: 17-15-24-8-16-29. I jinxed him, he hurt himself and got me 8 PRA
    Stephenson with a 22 (his best of the last 3 games, but had 29, 38, 26 in the first 3 games)
    Parker in a must-win game 5 after he had 29 and 29 in the first two home games: 20
    I don´t want to talk about Chalmers' 10 in 31 minutes
    Durant for 47, but a 0 in overtime? Strange

    I obviously didn´t make the best picks in the last two weeks, to say the least ;)

    Now, on to the next round. Who to pick for game 1? Ginobili? Playing at home, with the most rest he will get? Bosh in Texas? Duncan with a good start? Green and hope for another rain from outside?
    The only thing I know is that I will pick LeBron as soon as one team has its third win. James in the closeout- of elimination-game. Preferably an elimination game.

    1. Green intrigues me. He indeed let it rain last year, but got D'ed up in Games 6&7. For those who have him in their Best Four, might be a good idea to pick him G1 before Heat adjusts.

  5. G1 Parker
    G2 Splitter
    G3 Ginobili
    G4 Allen
    G5 Duncan
    G6 LeBron (Over in 6)
    G7 Andersen

    Take out Allen and move everyone up a game if it looks like someone will win in 5.

    128th overall at the moment. This should be good enough to net me a top 100 finish.

    1. I'd switch Splitter and Duncan, so if Spurs go up 3-0, you can slide LBJ to G4.

  6. Can't think of anything to add to the list. You've convinced me to pick Bosh in Texas, I agree with the assessment. Current pick plan:

    G1 Ginobili
    G2 Bosh
    G3 Diaw/Allen
    G4 Diaw/Allen
    G5 Green
    G6 James
    G7 Splitter

    James obviously moves up if it's an elimination game.

    Round 3 was solid for me but expectedly unspectacular after a sizzling Round 2. Now sitting at:

    PRA: 1150
    Rank: 407

    With some good picks and a long series, I have a small chance at a new personal best (currently at 1315 from 2009).

    1. I must have gotten less than 89 percentile that first year 2009. Ah 2009... Grr hate the Nuggets.

  7. My best four left are LBJ, CB, TD, Leonard. plus Green, DIAW and (Chris Anderson, Mario). I don't think final will end in 4 games, thus my first game pick is Green (he plays better at home, and no room for him in elimination games). 2nd game pick is CB (thanks for advice from you, I'll give it a try). LBJ, TD, Leonard all play best in elimination games, thus that's tough call. I project final goes to 6 games, I can't sort out the order of these three yet. That's for 5 games, if it goes 1:1 in first two games, I will use DIAW in game 3.

    Current PRA: 1184, Rank: 99

    Hope I can up that a bit in final round.

    1. We have almost same PRA yet you have about +60 PRA over me I think after four games in Finals. Good luck! You have a chance to win this!

  8. Players remaining… Tony Parker, Dwayne Wade, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobli, Danny Green, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Chris Anderson.

    Depending on health it’ll be Tony or Manu in Game 1. If Tony is out, Manu takes the majority of the scoring load. And I can’t see Tony getting much better, but it’ll be a risk picking him for Game 1 as coach may pull him like last time out.

    Game 1 – Manu Ginobli
    Game 2 – Danny Green
    Game 3 – Dwayne Wade
    Game 4 – Kawhi Leonard
    Game 5 – Chris Anderson/Ray Allen

    The moment I get confidence in Tony, he comes in and everyone shifts, except Danny Green who must play at home.

    Have dropped to 89th percentile following 8 combined points from Tiago Splitter & Norris Cole. Not likely to win my private league from this far back. But still hoping to break 95th percentile, that’s the target and achievable with some cold picks perhaps. That will definitely change my scheduled picks. Been a great year; see you all next Spring!

  9. We can pick now. Thursday Game 1 uo to 7 now open. Make your picks!

  10. Russell Westbrook put up 49 PRA in a monster elimination game effort that I am ecstatic with. He didn't quite make his playoff high of 55 PRA, but it still was a spectacular game from him, going out with a flourish.

    Still can't believe that OKC didn't win their home game and force a Game #7. They even had the lead for much of the game, and no Tony Parker to deal with. Really no excuse not to win that game @home, with how bad the Spurs have done playing @OKC. Also never seen so many OKC players tripping over themselves and turning the ball over, which was instrumental in their demise.

    Without getting that last game in, one way or the other, never got to pick Kevin Durant (so their goes 40-50 PRA possibly from the total). However until San Antonio won Game #5, I had no real idea who would win this series. Especially with San Antonio going 0-4 vs. the Thunder during the regular season. Without Ibaka playing it would have been easy to think the Spurs would easily move on, but once back and once OKC won both of their home games convincingly, it was hard to figure this series would not go the distance, with home teams taking care of business on their home court. So until Game #5, had to guard against a possibly OKC series win, and not using up all of their players and having no one for the Finals to pick other than a few Heat players.

    So it is what it is. And we move now to the Finals.

    For the Spurs I have remaining: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker (if healthy), Manu Ginobili (to be played for sure if Parker does not start), Kawhi Leonard, and I guess Tiago Splitter (if he actually goes back to starting lineup).

    For the Heat remaining players to pick: LeBron James, Wade, and Chris Bosh, Norris Cole or Rashard Lewis (if he still starts). Probably won't need to worry about these last two Heat players unless Parker does not play, and other players don't suffer injuries.

    Sweeps don't usually happen, especially after the first round of the playoffs. Most series average 5 or 6 games (6 is probably the highest probability of the possibilities), and hitting 7 games is not all that uncommon in a series.

    What remains now though is trying to pick the right player on the right night. Something that I normally am not always very good with. Should be fun (or completely frustrating).

  11. Just a couple of notes to offer some help going forward:

    Danny Green should be used at home (if you still have him), and are looking to pick him. His home vs. road splits dramatically favor him being home.

    Also if Tony Parker does not play, that gives a huge boost to Danny Green, and also especially Manu Ginobili. So if Parker is out, you definitely want to get either Green or Manu in your lineup to take advantage of that situation.

  12. Nice write up Taong, as you have done throughout the playoffs. Good contributions from the many others who have posted here as well.

    Good luck to all!

    1. Thanks Daytona. And thank you for the Green tip, haven't looked him up yet. May use him G2 or G5

  13. Hopefully I can keep my 100%. Percentile and stay within top 100 in rankings..I'm currently 99 right now since I dropped like crazy after the ray Allen dud with 6 haha...still have Chalmers josh LeBron rashard Lewis Anderson Leonard and diaw

  14. Oops I meant 90

  15. Well at this point it maybe good to say how I feel about how I've done DTTFs. I've made 4 mistakes during 5 games (one mistake was a 2 game stretch mistake). I took LBJ and settled for 35 but I felt better after that 13 game (granted who'd pick him with a 3-1 lead in a Pre-Finals round) and when others also got 35 in G6. The 3rd worst pick of the playoffs was Aldridge on the wrong night, I got 29 (which looks okay) from a player that I should have gotten 40+ from and had a 66 PRA game (granted it was in the 1st round but still the highest game PRA of anyone all playoffs).
    The 2nd worst thing I did was pick Leonard in G4 instead of Ibaka in G3, part of it was that I was eager to not lose Westbrook 2 years in a row (there was the sweep possibility but Ibaka was back and there has been 1 sweep all playoffs!) so I took Westbrook in G3 and got 41 which sounds good, yet that was his worst home game of the series, although I was right to take him at home and the worse part was getting 16 from Leonard when he had 6 after less than 2 minutes! Ibaka my original G4 pick got 18 at 41% but that was enough to beat Leonard thanks to the blowout. Ibaka had 22 in G3 and Westbrook had a series game high 55 (3rd highest game PRA to Aldridge 66 and LBJ 57) so Ibaka+Westbrook=77 while I got 57 in 2 games from Westbrook+Leonard in G3 and 4, a loss of 20 PRA. While all 3 Spurs I picked (Parker, Leonard and Duncan) got pulled for good in the 3rd quarter, Parker and Duncan got good and very good numbers with 29 and 36 respectively but Leonard got only 16 and the reason why is he was in a losing blowout! Blowouts suck but better to have a player on the winning side then the losing side of a blowout!
    As awful as it was to use up Leonard and get a sub 20 from him, the worst thing was banking on a G7 in the Clippers/Thunder series and leaving Blake Griffin unused when the Thunder ended that series in 6. After that I will never assume G7, even when the series is between 2 evenly matched teams. It looks good that G7 has a super home advantage history but I've learned that there is a downside to it... some teams quit in G6 when they don't believe they'll win a G7. The Clippers did it to the Thunder and the Thunder might of somewhat done that against the Spurs, despite rallying to force OT. I wa smore surprised in the Clippers because they won a game at OKC and it took a major collapse to not be the ones up 3-2, which would have most likely cost me Durant or Westbrook. I figured the Clippers would be angry to force G7 but that anger was good for the 1st quarter only. As bad as that result was the Clippers winning G6 and 7 would have cost be Durant AND Westbrook so it could have been worse. I know most of what I said has been negative but outside of the listed games, it's been okay (how did I not mention the Pacers/Wizards add that in and I'd be in winning contention) as it's my first complete year playing this game. I did play last year but I missed some of the game days speaking of which look at the 4 celebrities, they've all quit, even though some of them were 90%+ before giving up.

    1. I had LMA 29, Paul George 21, Reggie Jackson 8, Paul Pierce 14, Westbrook 41 and didn't get to use Ibaka. But luckily I'm still sitting at 100% right now. Correctly picking the winning team is most important.

    2. Not sure how much of this can truly be classified as mistakes. It appears that most of the moves (other than perhaps passing on Blake Griffin) were just getting guys on the wrong night. With San Antonio up 2-0, picking Westbrook makes a lot of sense (see losing Blake Griffin). There is no reason to think Westbrook would dominate Game 4 more than Game 3. There was a 50-50 chance of that happening. Passing on Ibaka for Kawhi was only because you wanted to go cold. In my opinion, going cold just because you are behind is not worth it. Going cold only helps if you believe the cold pick is going to be the best pick, not just because you have to do it. Basically, dwelling on switching the order is something I learned to look past over the years. There is always going to be a combination that works better. I would say switch two players at random and 50% of the time the other order is a better one. Sure, I can switch Harden and Howard and get 34 more PRA. But I can switch my picks of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams and lose 25 PRA too. Definitely about correctly picking the teams and not dwelling too much on the past picks. It's all about looking ahead to the games to come.

    3. Also, I can't imagine teams in the NBA giving up because they were down 3-2. Try telling Chris Paul and Blake Griffin that they gave up in Game 6, I assure they punch you in the face. Both the Thunder and the Clippers lost Game 6 to great teams, and neither gave up. They fought all the way to the end. Just because your home doesn't guarantee a win by simply trying.

  16. Now for the Finals:
    Games 1, 2 and 5 in SA must be Ginobili, Green and Bosh, while Games 3 and 4 must be Wade and Diaw. I currently have those combinations in the order listed but the question is which of those Ginobili, Green and Bosh combinations will lead to the most PRA? There are 6 possible combinations there. For Wade and Diaw will G3 Wade and G4 Diaw be the better combo or is G3 Diaw, G4 Wade better? If there is a G6 I will take Anderson and I'll use Splitter if this series goes the distance.

  17. Does anyone get this poll-maker.com page when trying to open the blog? I have to hit my Esc button to try and stop it. Then again anyone who is getting the problem and isn't doing the Esc trick probably won't be seeing this.

    1. Yeah that was annoying. I have since ditched it. No more poll-maker

  18. Okay, my pick plan:

    G1 Ginobili (after some rest)
    G2 Bosh (like 80% of the players, because they all want to pick him in Texas. I, on the other hand, take him because the Heat need to win after the loss in game 1, and Bosh as is the best Heat player I have left not named LeBron)
    G3 Duncan (first game in hostile environment)
    G4 Leonard (second game in hostile environment)
    G5 Green (at home)
    G6 James (should be an elimination game)
    G7 Mills, Andersen and Lewis 3pack
    G8 Taong
    G9 Daytona
    and so on...
    just as long as I don´t have to play myself...

    James gets moved up if someone has 3 wins before game 5. That goes without saying.

    All you Spurs lovers (or Heat haters), don´t kid yourself in believing in a sweep. Nobody beats the Heat 4-0 or 4-1. Not as long as James is playing. Not even Michael Jordan could have swept the Heat. Beat them in a Best-of-7? Sure. But not in four games.

    Oh, the most important numbers:
    989 points (you have to add 58 points for the Aldridge disaster, that´s still not good, but 1047 would sound less bad)
    Rank 8599
    66th percentile
    hope to crack 70 percentile

    1. Liking your pick plan. Switch G8 and G9 though, just in case series ends in 8.

  19. My picks for this year's finals:

    G1 - Bosh (Miami needs to win Game 1)
    G2 - Green (Regardless of whoever wins Game 1)
    G3 - Leonard (Plays better on road)
    G4 - Wade (Interchangeable with Leonard, will pick him at home)
    G5 - Duncan (Depending on the standing, will switch to Ginobili if this is not an elimination game)
    G6 - Ginobili (Will pick on Game 5 if not an elimination game)
    G7 - Either Splitter or Birdman

    Already picked LBJ and Parker for this one. Currently in 91st percentile and I hope I can nail down the picks in timing.

    1. Forgot about Leonard better on road sometimes. Thanks for the reminder, THCH!

      Guys, take note.

  20. Yawh.... Is it Thursday yet?


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