The more things change, the more they stay the same.
While the Miami are on their way to a third straight NBA Finals appearance after routing the Pacers 99-76 in an uneventful Game 7 where Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh actually showed up to play with LeBron and showed that this could have easily been a 5 game series. But credit the Pacers for putting up a fight and just falling short. But now all the focus is the Spurs and the Heat.
The Finals will start tonight, which gives the Heat two days of rest and the Spurs will be giddy by game time as it marks their 9th off day after steam rolling the Memphis Grizz in 4 games. The Spurs are experienced enough to use the long lay off to their advantage unlike most NBA squads. But the Heat are coming off a strong performance and at this point in the season, no one is fully healthy or rested, just ask D-Wade. With that being said here a breakdown of who has the upper hand in the Finals.
Down in the Paint:
“TIMMMMAAAAAAY!” Tim Duncan is 37 years young and is a First Team All-NBA. Which bodes the question, what did you accomplish at 37? He has been nothing short of spectacular leading the Spurs to the NBA Finals yet again making it a magical 15 years in San Antonio. While Tim Duncan will face Bosh who has become more of perimeter player in the playoffs, Bosh won’t certainly have any success in the post against Duncan, just ask Zach Randolph how all that went. Keep your heads up and eyes peeled for Birdman as he can make an impact on this series similar to the one against Indiana. Advantage: Spurs
Ray Allen is the greatest three point shooting player of all time, LeBron has made leaps and bounds in that department, Shane Battier can always knock it down and the little used Mike Miller could become a spark off the bench if called upon, similar to last years Finals. But Miami beware, there is no answer for the Red Rocket…Matt Bonner. OK maybe I got a little carried away there but that man has been stroking it for the past decade and has quietly changed games so don’t overlook the dude just because he is white and a ginger. Outside of that, the three-ball really isn’t San Antonio’s type of hype, but they have shown they can get buckets from deep so don’t count them out in this area. Advantage: Miami
Who’s Big Three is Bigger?
James, Wade, Bosh vs Parker, Ginobili and Duncan. The NBA is dominated by Big Three’s nowadays in order to win a Championship and these two could be the biggest of them all. Miami has the best player on Earth right now and the Spurs are led by the greatest Power Forward in NBA history. D-Wade has been inconsistent all playoffs and Chris Bosh has been ‘eh’ too. Meanwhile Tony Parker has been the French Batman and Manu has played outstanding in the clutch. While the Larry O’Brien may come down to whose Big Three plays more consitently, which the Spurs Big Three has been doing for a decade, in that case… Advantage: Spurs
Defense Wins Championships:
At any given point, when they want too, Miami can be the best defending team in the league. Still, their D is suffocating and will have to figure out a way to have LeBron guard Duncan and Parker on the pick-n-roll at the same time. Only once have the Heat let up 100 points these playoffs and it took Indiana an Overtime to get there. Spurs have let up triple-digits two times, watch out for the Spurs defending stud in Kawhi Leonard to at least slow LeBron at some points in the series. Advantage: Heat
Off the Pine
Bench play is huge in every series, but in the Finals it can make all the difference. The Birdman and Udonis Haslem have been game changers when Bosh and Wade don’t show up and Ray Allen at the age of 37 can still play. But Ginobili off the bench along with sharpshooter Gary Neal, playmaker Corey Joseph and the punishing Forward Dajuan Blair will dominate the Heat’s lacking inside game. Advantage: Spurs
There is no question here. Popovich is a first ballad Hall of Famer and I’d argue the best coach in NBA History if you gave him Kobe or Jordan for a decade, see how many titles he gets then. Yet with the team and core he has had for the past decade he has the chance to win a 5th Championship. Sure he had the Admiral and Duncan to help him along the way but he has kept the Spurs a force in the league longer than any coach of his generation could. And while Spoelstra isn’t a terrible coach, its just that he has the best player in the game and can win this series by himself. Advantage: Spurs
The Spurs seem to have the upper hand in almost every aspect in this series, including rest. But if Miami can get Bosh and Wade to play the best they possibly can and have LeBron play in that “Best player of all time” mode then South Beach will have yet another Title to the most undeserving fans in the world. That is still a big if, and you know what you are getting with the Spurs.
Spurs in 6. Parker Finals MVP