The San Antonio Spurs are a better basketball team than the Miami Heat. LeBron James may be the best Small Forward ever in the NBA, but at the same time, the Spurs might have the best Power Forward to ever live.
On paper, the Heat’s big three of LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh may look better than the Spurs big three of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, but the Spurs are the most unified team in the sport. Duncan and the rest of the Spurs have been living off of nasty pick n’ roll’s (See below) their entire careers and there is no reason for them to not win this series.
As much as I (like many others) wanted to see a 2012 Durant vs. LeBron NBA Finals rematch, I am happy the Spurs made it back to the Finals. Last season was about as about as devastating as a Randy Johnson fastball to the groin for San Antonio, so they deserve some payback. For those of you who don’t remember, or just want a refresher, here’s a play-by-play of the last 14 seconds of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals from a Spurs fans point-of-view.
- 13.4 seconds left: “All we need is one stop! 3-point lead baby, no way they can hit a 3. Our defense is incredible!”
- 11.3 seconds left: “HOW THE F**K DID WE LEAVE LEBRON OPEN TO TIE THE GAME!”
- 8.3 seconds left: “OMG he missed it!! We’re going win. We beat the Heat!! Thank god they didn’t leave Ray Allen open!”
- 5.2 seconds left: “F**k, s**t, Mother F****r!! Anybody but Ray, for the love of god. Noooooooooooo!”
The Spurs want revenge, but it’s going to be another 7 game grind for both teams. They’re a few different factors that may lean the series in either team’s direction, so let’s go over a few different elements that will decide the series.
The LeBron Factor:
He’s the best player on the planet, hands down. There is nobody better than LeBron all-around and he can’t be stopped. He’s put up a casual 27.1 points, 5.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds in the playoffs without breaking a sweat. The scary thing with LeBron is that on any given night he has the ability to drop 50 points so I expect him to have a killer performance like he did in Game 7 of last year’s Finals where he drops around 35 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. LeBron’s going to play well; it’s just a matter if his team can perform with him.
Miami is a good defensive team, but the Spurs are a great defensive team. The Spurs led the league in Adjusted Net Rating this season, which is the estimate of point differential per 100 possessions adjusted for strength of opponents with an 8.45-point differential. I just confused myself typing that, but what it means is that Spurs play great team defense and get even better as their opponent gets stronger. For the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard was voted to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team this season, and Tim Duncan is a 14-time All-NBA Defensive player so defensively they are pretty solid. Miami has LeBron, who is one of the best defensive player’s in the league every year and Chris Bosh had a good defensive year as well, but the advantage has to go to the Spurs is this department.
I don’t think the Spurs can win this series without a healthy Tony Parker. He’s going to play in the series no matter what since it’s the Finals but how healthy is he actually? Ankle injuries are shattering for basketball players so the health of Parker will make or break this series. Also, D-Wade may be finally healthy but he’s had so many injuries in the past that he make break a rib sneezing. So for the meantime, Miami gets the advantage here.
The refs love Miami, so if Joey Crawford is refereeing every game of the Finals, Miami might win in 4 games with LeBron getting 50 free throw attempts per game. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if Tim Duncan gets kicked for laughing every game too.
Prediction: Spurs win in 7 and Manu Ginobili wins the NBA Finals MVP.