Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Road to 1L: What to Do After the June LSAT

If you're wondering what to do after taking the June LSAT, here's a great law school admissions roadmap for you that I wrote for the Above the Law Career Blog.

I'll give you the abridged version here:

1. Decide whether (and why) you're going to retake the LSAT in October).

2. Get started on your law school applications or the components thereof if the actual applications aren't available yet (which they won't be in most cases) - you should really get an early jump on brainstorming and writing out some early drafts of your personal statement. In order to write a successful personal statement, you will have to engage in a lot of reflection and then turn that reflection into great writing. That requires time and effort...and then more time...and more effort. Don't expect to be able to give yourself the kind of perspective you will need by working on it here and there during your fall semester.

3. Besides the LSAT and personal statement/supplementary essays, you will need to plan for the components of the application that aren't entirely within your control. These elements are letters of recommendation, transcripts, and dean's certifications.

Read more about from David Mainiero on law school admissions on the ATL blog.

Of course, if you want more personalized attention from law school admissions experts, don't hesitate to reach out.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Adult Male Mounta Large Yellow Duck



via IFTTT

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Will be the Third Time America Beats Germany...or Ties Them...

Except this time, it's not a war.

I'm not sure whether we've been infiltrated by a German spy or we've turned Klinsmann into a full-blown defector, but either way, there should be no stopping #USMNT from at least earning a draw today and advancing to the Round of 16.

Last time we played Germany in such an important World Cup match, they got through by the skin of their teeth with a clear handball on the line to save an American goal.



While I don't expect FIFA to referee the match any more fairly and certainly don't expect any gifts like Germany got in 2002, I would love to get some referee retribution (or maybe save it for some later rounds).

I think USA will come out aggressively, and then the game can either explode wide open with full-fledged attacking by both sides if a goal is scored, or it will die down into a quiet match with both sides content to save their players from injury and advance to fight another day. The one thing USA should not do is sit back and pack their side of the midfield waiting for Germany to attack. We should play a 4-5-1, with Bradley in an attacking position and rely on smart counters.

Meanwhile, I hope Jozy Altidore is getting some great hamstring massages so that we can hopefully have him back for the knockout rounds.

Hilarious Reactions to Suarez Biting

The cover of the New York Post said "EATALY" in all caps with a picture of the bite marks. That had to be my personal favorite.

However, here are some of my favorite Twitter reactions in the aftermath:




























On a serious note, it's a pretty scummy thing to do and he should be kicked out of the World Cup and banned for dozens of games for his actions. Liverpool should also fine him if they have the stomach to do it because of how poorly this reflects on the club. I must say, though, I've had people do much worse things to me playing soccer and get away with it. Some really weird things happen in South Florida while people are scrambling for position on set pieces...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LeBron Suitors Chasing Shabazz Napier

LeBron's suitors--including the Miami Heat--should all be taking a good look at Shabazz Napier in the upcoming draft after LeBron's tweet about Napier being the best point guard in the draft:




LeBron has been very complimentary of Napier since the tournament and this is certainly not the first time he has publicly sung his praise. For a team looking to sign LeBron in the next few weeks, adding Napier could be a strong move. It would be a particularly strong move for Miami, who sorely lacks strong PG play with the disappearing act that was Mario Chalmers against the Spurs. I'd love to keep Norris Cole, and would be really upset to see him go; but, if that's what it takes to keep LeBron happy, then Miami should do it. There is almost no way that Napier falls to the 26 spot, so Riley is aggressively trying to move up to a pick in the late teens. Unfortunately, Miami has no assets besides Cole and a 2017 first round pick to flip into a higher pick in this draft. We'll see what Riley can pull off, though. He certainly fits the bill of the type of player that Riley targets in drafts (when he targets anyone at all rather than just flipping the pick for veteran free agents): a multi-year veteran college player who has developed his skills, overcome adversity, and had a taste of championship success. Napier is exactly that kind of guy. He isn't the uber-athletic point guard that would be great on the Heat, and struggles with on-ball perimeter defense; yet, scouts seem confident that he can develop better defensive habits just like Chris Bosh did when he came to the Heat.

Still, I don't want to see Cole go, but it's a small price to pay to lure LeBron back to Miami and set the tone for Wade and Bosh's opt-out decisions and probable pay cuts. I think I might prefer them to flip the 26th pick for Iman Shumpert if that deal is even on the table; something tells me Phil Jackson isn't going to do Riley any favors. It's a Cole World out there...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Heartbreaking Draw

The USMNT has really earned the respect and admiration of the country after the grit and dedication they showed in the win(s) (well, win and almost win) against Ghana and Portugal. I am teeming with confidence that we can achieve a good result against Germany and advance to the knockout round. The worst part of that gut-punch goal in the last three seconds of stoppage time was that it prevents our guys from getting some much-needed rest against Germany. Now, we really have to give our all to that game.

While the media wanted to play the blame game with Michael Bradley on that last-gasp goal by Cristiano Ronaldo, I don't have any interest in doing that. Bradley played his heart out, and was simply out-muscled for the ball. He did what he should have done in trying to keep possession and force a foul; if his first touch didn't betray him, he would have definitely had the presence of mind to kick the ball far away or out of bounds rather than turn it over. He shouldn't be faulted for that. The first goal, though, was totally inexcusable. 

The way in which we dominated our match-ups with supposedly superior individual players was truly impressive. Ronaldo didn't do anything worthwhile all game, except for his ridiculously perfect cross into the box with about 4 seconds left before the final whistle blew. 


His hair was perfectly gelled throughout, though, so you have to give him credit for that. 

Compared to Portugal, we looked like a team rather than a collection of individuals. There's a good chance we come out and attack Germany and get them (or their B-Squad) on their heels. If Ghana could earn a draw and get plenty of chances against them, there is no reason that we shouldn't be able to achieve a similar result. 

Nate Silver has the U.S.'s chances of advancing somewhere around 75.8%. My only fear is that Ghana just runs away with the game against Portugal because they are a vastly superior side physically and Portugal is still blighted by injury. Hopefully, Ronaldo will have a game that lives up to his billing and the team will take some pride in getting a good result against Ghana before they suffer an ignominious exit from the Cup.

If the U.S. can advance as the 1 seed somehow, that would set up an ideal matchup against someone from the Belgium and Russia group. I'd be confident in #USMNT against either of those teams, but would love to see us up against Russia. The problem is that we would have to face someone like Argentina in the next round. Given their recent form and near-inability to close out against Iran, we shouldn't have too much fear of them either. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Poor England

As an adopted fan of Arsenal and England since the I was about 9 years old, it's been very sad to see England lose in such dramatic fashion in every major competition I've ben able to watch and appreciate them play in. They show flashes of brilliance, but ultimately end up on the losing end.

I particularly feel bad for Wayne Rooney, who outside of my time on the sticks with him during FIFA, has not been the player that he truly is capable of being during big international competitions. He had plenty of opportunities to score against Uruguay, and could only manage one goal that was basically impossible to screw up. I would have loved to see him play like the dominant player he should be out there, and I would have loved to see guys like Steven Gerrard get one more good run in international competition before they're replaced by younger guys on the squad at the next World Cup.

England the adopted European team that I would root for if the USA wasn't competing or had already been eliminated, but now that I'm thinking about it...the United States has gone just as deep, if not deeper, into almost every tournament I can remember recently. Rooting for the U.S., who have no expectations burdening them, is much more fun. The raw emotional reaction to U.S. success is much more rewarding than that I feel for England, which I guess is natural.

But, as this Daily Beast article summed up quite aptly, I still find it impossible to walk away from rooting for England as well:

Given the length of time elapsed between 1966 and now, the English football fan’s relationship with the national team is best encapsulated as a long, crisis-strewn marriage, without the benefit of couples counseling and with the certainty that crisis follows crisis. But it is impossible to walk away.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Neapolitan Pizzeria Coming In Downtown San Diego

Check out the preview on David Mainiero's latest restaurant from Eater San Diego's Candice Woo. The restaurant--Double Standard--is slated to open in November barring any unexpected delays. It will feature Neapolitan pizza and chef-driven small plates in a hip, urban, and comfortable milieu. The emphasis on local produce and other locally sourced ingredients will be the driving force of the restaurant. Food and design without the pretense our price, but the highest quality...creating a new "Double Standard."


The Godfather talking about the Big Three Staying in the Family Business

Pat Riley coming out with the stuff of legends. He really just shuts down the reporters and tells them to "get a grip." "If you got the guts and you don't find the first door and run out of it, if you have an opportunity."

He is fully confident that he will bring back the Big Three, and used the Spurs as a prime example of why you don't blow up and old core in the face of adversity.

He related to the Heat players on a personal level and the family ties between them. Their kids all love Miami and some of them are each others' godparents. Savannah is having another child this summer, and Wade is getting married this summer as well. That will mean that all three of them will have gotten married during their time in Miami.

Listen to Riley talk about the Heat's plans for the future:



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Business" School - What Kind is Right for You?

Don’t Treat Business as a Monolithic Category
Co-authored by Janet, a former Assistant Dean of Admissions at Haas

One of the most important considerations for your B-school choice is your more specific interests in business, your specialization, or your concentration. For some reason, people seem to pay attention only to the “ranking” of a school; while there is some basis for doing so, it should never be the end of your inquiry into a particular school and how it might suit your interests and aspirations.

Just as certain colleges are much stronger and/or weaker in certain departments, so too are business schools stronger and/or weaker within particular focus areas. To add depth to your B-school selection process, it is important to consider the schools that are well known for their specialties. The following is a partial list created by U.S. News and World Report Rankings for the schools in 2013. (Note: these are not ranked in any particular order; they are merely categorized.)

Accounting
University of Texas-Austin
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Brigham Young University-Provo
Entrepreneurship
Babson College
University of Southern California
M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Finance
University of Pennsylvania
New York University
M.I.T.
International Business
University of South Carolina
New York University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
Supply Chain Management/Logistics
Michigan State University
M.I.T.
Arizona State University
Marketing
University of Pennsylvania
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Texas-Austin

This is just a small sampling of schools, but it does give you some starting points as you begin the research process. When you graduate and take a position in the business world, you will be taking a position in--or in some case, studying for an advanced degree in-some specific type of business. Unless you’re involved in a very small business in which you are tasked with several areas of responsibilities, or unless you are an entrepreneur, you will likely specialize in something. In any case, it will be important to get a taste of each of these areas, and good business programs will certainly do that for you. However, if you know that you are dead set on entrepreneurship, or are particularly fascinated by complicated financing vehicles and products, you will want to make sure you are at a school that allows you to explore that to the fullest. This is important not only for your education while in school, but it is also incredibly important because of the alumni base of likeminded individuals who have walked this path before you and will be ready and willing to support you at the beginning of your career.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Adult Male Mounts Large Yellow Duck Adult Male Mounts Large Yellow Duck



The first effort was both unsuccessful and very successful at the same time. http://ift.tt/1naOSIZ David Mainiero

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Confidence in the Heat's Ability to Make History

So, I was clearly wrong about the Heat winning in 6 or less. The deck is stacked against them right now, and they haven't oozed the confidence that they have in the past. However, San Antonio knows it would be a grave mistake to think they have this in the bag. They are drawing on last year's experience and reliving the Ray Allen shot over and over again to motivate themselves.

If any team in history has the talent to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals, it is this Miami Heat team. Some incredible performances from Wade, LeBron, and Bosh can really make things happen. The Spurs have had the benefit of those incredible performances in Games 3 and 4.

Winning tonight will be huge for the Heat's confidence. They will feel great coming home and needing to win to get to a Game 7 to determine the fate of their three-peat. The prospects of beating San Antonio three consecutive games and twice on the road are really slim, but this team has relied on sheer talent to win games and to dig deep and I don't expect them to crumble.

As much as it has pained me to watch the Heat get destroyed over the past two games, I have kept watching until the very last minute because I know how quickly they can turn things around for the better. That's the joy of watching this Heat team. They can do anything. I hate to quote Kevin Garnett, but "anything is possible."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tips for Getting a Job After College

If you have recently graduated and are finally getting over the post-college depression (at least, temporarily), you are probably in the midst of or gearing up for making your job search a full time job. This can be a really stressful time, especially if you're relying on the income to support yourself. If you're not, it's still stressful, but you have a little bit of a cushion and some flexibility to ensure that you take a job that will help you build relevant skills, advance your career goals, and pay you a reasonable salary for someone with your qualifications. In either case, there are a couple tips that can help you propel yourself into a successful entry-level position.

Hopefully, you have worked hard to credential yourself and give yourself marketable skills so that you are well-equipped at this stage of the game. But, the following tips apply to pretty much anyone in any situation after college trying to find a job:

1. Don't limit yourself to just one field based on your academic interests in college or your major - most people literally have no clue what they want to do with their lives, and there isn't anything wrong with that. In fact, there's a certain maturity-level required in admitting that fact to yourself and being open to the world of opportunities out there. While there are certain instances in which you'll want to keep that attitude close to the vest, it's important that you understand that you can't have full control over your career path in almost any circumstance, let alone this early in your life. A lot of opportunities will come and go based on who you know, what you do, and how well you do it. You may certainly be able to put yourself in relatively better or worse positions, but you can't control the future and the happenstance by which certain appealing opportunities arise. The most important thing you can do is make sure you are building some marketable skills that are either directly in a field you're interested in or are easily translatable to other fields that you might want to pursue work in later on in your career. 

2. Be persistent - If you talked to a company a month or two before graduation that told you they wouldn't be hiring until mid-summer, that is not a ticket for you to sit around and wait until then. As soon as you graduate, you should be in contact with people there finding out who you can meet to talk about the industry or that company in particular, and what you can do to make yourself a more attractive candidate for the job when the applications become available and hiring decisions start to be made. There are definitely ways to be persistent without being annoying. One of my good friends got an internship in college by calling the HR woman in charge of the hiring process every week and checking in about possible availabilities in the company; one day, she called him and said that someone had dropped out last minute and that he was the first one she thought of to fill the spot. His persistence paid off, and he ended up at a job he otherwise would never have been able to get at that stage in his career. 

3. Make sure your resume and cover letter is perfect and both are tailored to the job for which you applying - This is especially important if you are applying to jobs in multiple industries. You'll want to make sure that your resume accentuates different parts of your background and experiences in order to maximize your prospects for success both in getting an interview and in succeeding in successive interview rounds beyond that. Resumes are dialogues, not monologues; they should be adapted based on each unique situation. If you can't bother to change it, and can't bother to tailor your cover letters to companies (without any glaring errors or typos), then you don't deserve a job there. That's the easiest way for them to toss out your application. What does it say about your work ethic if you can't manage to make your application materials flawless when you're unemployed and sitting at home? 


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

InGenius Prep Law School Admissions Counseling - the Smart Way to Get In!



The Law School Admissions process is incredibly rigorous. Not only do you need to have standout LSAT scores and a great GPA from a good school, but you also need to make sure your application accurately and optimally reflects your life experiences up through this point in order to convince the admissions readers that you are the right candidate for their incoming 1L class. Our team of former Deans, Directors, and Assistant Directors of Admission at all the top law schools, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia, are standing by ready to help you achieve your dreams, no matter what school you are shooting for. We have the most talented and qualified counselors in the world, and can't wait to help you.

Getting into a great law school is more important than ever with a dwindling job market, but we're here to help!


Monday, June 9, 2014

InGenius Prep College Counseling - the Smart Way to Get In!



Visit InGenius Prep to begin working toward your dream college with our incredible team of former admissions officers and graduate coaches from the top colleges in the country.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

LeBron Will Rise to the Task

Tonight, after all the backlash against LeBron, he's going to do what he always does when his back is against the wall and have a legendary performance. I don't expect it to quite reach Game 6 Boston levels, but he is going to be super-aggressive (and hopefully, super-hydrated as well) and really make his mark on this game. It should be a close game, but I think Miami will get the much-coveted split tonight. In the 2-2-1-1-1 format that the NBA finally switched back to for the Finals, home court advantage is even more important. Miami really won't want to go home in a 2-0 hole, where the Spurs can steal a close game and then come home for Game 5 to finish them off. Consequently, you can expect the Big Three to be incredibly aggressive tonight on defense. They're going to try to smother Danny Green, and make sure they're chasing him off the line at all time. While it would be nice if Bosh could play better defense on Duncan, I think the Heat are content to let him get his 25-10 stats as long as the three point shooters are kept in check and Parker isn't going nuts creating easy dump-offs after his drives.

Tonight's game should be a tight one because the Spurs don't often get complacent (especially after last year's Finals debacle for them) like the Heat are prone to do when their backs aren't against the wall. But, I expect Miami to snag a game tonight and win Game 3 on an emotionally-charged home court in a couple days.

With no Lance Stephenson antics, no A/C failures, and no other silly distractions from the great basketball being played, the rest of this series should be exactly what it has been billed as...a hotly (no pun intended) contested match-up of two NBA teams who will already be known as some of the best teams in league history.

Side Note: We're going to have a Super Mario Chalmers sighting. Less turnovers, more high-arcing threes.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cramps and Stupid Tweets

Twitter was ablaze with baseless hatred and vitriol spewed toward LeBron, as usual, after last night's sweltering heat and resultant cramps. LeBron has had problems with cramps in the past, such as during the game in the 2012 Finals against OKC. If you remember that, you'll think of LeBron limping back onto the court and nailing a dagger three. If you don't, you might want to watch it again:



Of course, no one mentions this when they talk about LeBron not having grit and not fighting through pain. You want to compare other guys limping over and taking free throws (which don't require jumping, or moving, by the way) while hurt, but not compare LeBron to himself two years ago. Trust me, if there was any way his body would let him continue, he would have. In fact, he already was doing so after several cramps earlier in the game. He has quadriceps the size of a horse's and when they fail and start uncontrollably spasm-ing, it's not fun. This isn't an issue of playing through pain; it's an issue of simply not being able to continue in a way that helps his team. Risking further injury in that ridiculous environment when he was clearly dehydrated and exhausted would not have been heroic. It would have been idiotic. Spoelstra and the training staff instantly told him he could not continue; otherwise, he would have been on the floor stretching it out, pounding Gatorade, and taking potassium pills or other sources of electrolytes.

Plain and simple, the Heat should have won Game 1. This isn't to say they definitely would have, but they dominated the game up through that point, and things only changed when LeBron came out. Let's answer a couple common criticisms from last night, through the lens of dumb trolling tweets:

1. Kobe injury comparisons -

Yes, Kobe shot free throws after tearing his Achilles. Not a huge deal; if LeBron needed to do that, he definitely could have and would have. He's shot free throws with his left hand before. He has played through pain and cramps before, which by the way, are completely different. Did he need to be carried off the court? Probably not. But, his teammates didn't know what was wrong necessarily and there is no badge of honor associated with walking off the court on your own volition when you could risk further injury with a cramping and spasming muscle. It's just stupid. If you want to talk about something stupid, let's talk about Paul Pierce's dramatic return from the locker room in a wheelchair.




The bottom line here is that the comparison is stupid. Here's a comparison: Kobe sat out this season. LeBron is in the Finals, again.

2. "The heat affected both teams equally."




Well, thank you for your in-depth analysis! The simple fact for anyone who knows anything about basketball is that the Spurs are much deeper team and that is their strength. Popovich plays rotations just like the one he played in Game 1 that rest his Big Three and rely on the supporting cast to do the rest. The Heat were constructed as a top-heavy team that relies primarily on heavy minutes and contributions from Wade, James, and Bosh. They got that contribution, but only for 33 minutes.

3. Michael Jordan played in the "flu" game and other people have played injured.

Yes, Jordan's flu game was impressive. Do I think LeBron could have done it given the opportunity? Definitely. How many games has LeBron missed for injury or illness that were not preventive maintenance in the past few season? Not many. Definitely less than Jordan. DEFINITELY less than Kobe.




LeBron has played through cramps before, and done so in a meaningful way to win a game in the Finals...don't forget that. He also frequently rolls his ankle or hurts his back or a number of other ailments and plays through it without any complaint. He is the most durable player in the league and has proven his grit time and time again.

Here's him playing through back pain:
          Here's him dropping 33 on the Pacers after a bad ankle sprain:
Here's him coming back from the same injury (in air-conditioning this time) to spark the rally to win a Playoff game this year:
 Almost forgot this one...here's him dropping 61 on the Bobcats with a broken nose:
 And, his own flu game...granted, much less important:
 
You know what's better than playing through pain and other circumstances? Being superhuman, never missing games, and almost never getting hurt. That's what LeBron gives you. And, when he does get hurt, he plays through it.

4. "LeBron cramped up, but no one else did."


Here's a suggestion why that might be the case...he is more athletic, relies on that athleticism for his game, and uses it more than any other player on the floor. He's not Mr. Fundamental like Duncan...he does absolutely EVERYTHING on both sides of the ball. Leads the team in assists, points, and rebounds on almost any given night while being their best defensive player. He guards Parker, Green, Leonard, and Duncan. He is guarded by Diaw and Leonard. I think it's fair to say he exerts a considerable amount more energy than anyone on the floor. I'm sure if you measured how many calories he was burning out there, he would be putting everyone else to shame just like he does by any other statistical measure. There are no excuses for him, and he isn't looking for any. The Heat still could have won, but this just put another stumbling block in their way (and a big one). The hate he gets for it is crazy.

You know what LeBron James never did? Leave the sport of basketball in his prime to play another sport that he was pretty terrible at. Jordan is celebrated for that, but if LeBron went off to play football for a year (which he would instantly be a Pro-Bowl caliber player at), he would be absolutely vilified for it...let alone if he went to play minor league baseball. I don't mean this to criticize Jordan, but merely to draw a comparison between the type of media and Internet criticism that LeBron is subjected to. Yes, he has brought some of it upon himself by opening up his life to the media and being a playful personality. When you have your own app about you, you're kind of asking for it.

The simple fact is that LeBron gets way too much criticism, and it's just stupid. He's the best basketball player in the world right now, and he is making a legitimate run at being the best ever. You said he's not clutch? You've already been proven wrong. (Yes, he did have a period where everyone saying he wasn't clutch became a self-fulfilling prophecy and made him less clutch; that period is over.) Yes, he passes sometimes (to wide-open, great shooters) when he should just selfishly assert his own dominance. That's better than missing on a forced shot like Kobe is so fond of doing.










Anyone talking about his cramps has never played a sport in their life, or at least hasn't played it hard enough to know what a cramp feels like. It's a muscular shut-down accompanied by intense fleeting pain that you wish would be over, but won't end.

Well, that's the end of my LeBron James defense for the day. Heat in 6, still. Game 1 road win would have just been a dagger, and it's a shame the Heat didn't grab it.




Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why the Heat Will Beat the Spurs in 6 Games or Less

San Antonio has had this mental image burning in their minds for the past year, repeating on an infinite loop like an annoying GIF:


It's motivated them to get through the West and secure home court advantage for the Finals. They're relatively healthy, and couldn't have prepared themselves better. Add that to the fact that Popovich knows how to neutralize LeBron (as much as he can be neutralized) by forcing him to take jumpers and frustrating him to the point where he doesn't even try to be aggressive and drive anymore, and the fact that Kawhi Leonard (or the less-athletic Boris Diaw, who does a decent job on LeBron bothering him with his size) is freakishly athletic and has the wingspan and energy to pester LeBron continuously, and you'd think that the Spurs should be favored in this series. Miami's tendency to only play to their potential when their backs are truly against the wall and the Spurs tendency to do everything right at all times and get production from even their worst role players bode very well for the Spurs.

However, here are 6 keys (assist to my good friend +Joshua Etzion) that will put the Heat over the top:

1. Wade has been well-rested all year and is now playing incredibly efficiently and well in these Playoffs. Last year, he was so hurt that his knee was being drained before most games and he had 8 hours of therapy per day; he was so bad that he wasn't in the crunch time lineup that gave the Heat the initial 4th quarter lead in Game 6, and Spoelstra gave him Greg Oden-esque minutes (obviously, a little exaggeration here). Wade, ever the fierce competitor, went so far as to tell Spoelstra, "Don't play me." Every time he's doubted, he gets back up and plays like his dominant self. This is the narrative I see for him in the Finals:




Manu Ginobili might have a similarly good Eurostep, but he sure isn't going to be a defensive threat to Wade. The Spurs don't have anyone who Wade can't totally dominate his match-up against. A healthy Wade shifts some attention away from LeBron and stifles Pop's game plan, opening up driving lanes and corner 3s for guys like Lewis and Allen. Healthy Dwyane = 4 rings.

2. Danny Green set the Finals record for 3 point shots made. If history or statistics are any indication, this isn't going to happen again. Without him providing that 60+% 3PT shot threat, the Heat can pack the paint more on Parker and Ginobili drives and concentrate more on Duncan and Splitter when they're in. Miami should be a better 3PT shooting team than San Antonio given that they boast a roster with all-time greats from behind the arc like Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen while having Chalmers, an improved Cole, and Battier. Even Wade has been hitting threes! And, I haven't seen that happening since his "talk to the hand" days pre-Big Three era.

3. Gary Neal was spelling a tired Parker and an underperforming Ginobili for most of the series last year. When the Heat should have otherwise been punishing the Spurs bench with those guys out, Neal was shooting a ridiculous percentage from behind the arc on Danny Green-esque levels. He was nailing absurd buzzer beaters and looked like an All-Star out there.

Gary Neal couldn't replicate this performance (see, Heat sweep of Spurs a few weeks ago) if he were still around, and neither will Marco Bellinelli in his stead. 
4. Duncan and Parker were other-worldly in last year's Finals, but won't be this year. Duncan had All-Star stats after the first half in a few games and dominated his match-up with Bosh. Bosh will take that personally this year and the Heat will do a much better job neutralizing the offensive threat that Duncan poses. When LeBron is on Parker, he should obviously have the edge in that match-up. This simply won't happen again. I fully expect Duncan and Parker to be great as they always are, but the performances they had last year just won't be replicated this year. If Parker's hamstring and ankle injuries haven't been exaggerated and are still nagging him, this could slow him down. Their best player is less healthy than Dwyane Wade is. Think about that for a second and if you ever could have envisioned that happening for these Finals after all Wade has been through with his knee.

5. Bosh has a new weapon in his arsenal. A great three point shot and a penchant for hitting it in the big moments. Miami don't need to rely on Shane Battier to stretch the floor and nail 7 threes (which obviously is unlikely to happen again). Miami doesn't need to rely on a shoeless Mike Miller (now Rashard Lewis) for a magical performance. Bosh's three point shot will help draw Duncan, Splitter, and/or Diaw out of the paint and stretch the floor such that Pop's plan to pack the paint against LeBron and Wade will be severely hampered. If they keep to their plan, which they probably will (Spurs can definitely stay disciplined), Bosh will have tons of wide open three point shots available to him. And he'll hit them at a clip above 40% I would bet. Bosh is going to have a big series after a few duds last year, and he's going to remind everyone who keeps calling the Big Three just Wade and James why he took his talents to South Beach.
6. The Spurs can't just pack the paint and dare LeBron to shoot jumpers. Not only will he ready for that and Spoelstra's game-plan already incorporate ways to get him loose, but he also just won't be surprised by it or made uncomfortable like he was early on in the series last year. LeBron shot ~80% on his jab-step jumpers from near the elbow. That simply wasn't the case last year, or against the Mavs in 2011. Daring him to shoot might be the best way to try neutralize him, but it won't succeed like it has in the past. His game has evolved and every team tries to do this against him now. Granted, the Spurs are way better at executing it, but LeBron's talent will just be too much to overcome.

Last year, you saw LeBron realize that if he took off his headband and focused completely and entirely on the task at hand, he could beat any odds. I expect him to bring that confidence and effort to this series, and truly have a career defining performance in these Finals a la 2006 Dwyane Wade. Miami understands the opportunity here, and the implications that losing would have for their legacy and for the team staying together for the next few years. Don't count on them blowing any more opportunities. 

Heat in 6. LeBron with 3 rings and a winning record in the Finals. Wade with four rings. Allen with three rings. Oden with more rings than Durant. Money in the bank for everyone who bet for the Heat to win this year at +190 odds.