The Miami Heat & San Antonio Spurs will have a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals starting Thursday night in San Antonio (9:00 p.m., ABC). Both teams have had strong seasons all year long & the meeting of both of these teams makes perfect sense when you look at how the NBA playoffs ended up playing out.
For the San Antonio Spurs, many people thought that the Spurs were not going to be able to get back to the NBA Finals after losing a heartbreaking game 6 & game 7 last year in Miami. The Spurs not only came back, but became the model of consistency all season long, even when people were hyping up the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors & others.
The Spurs know how to win. They have won for many years & they continue to play with the exact same formula they used in 1999, 2003, 2005, & 2007. The team will be bringing excellent, fundamental offense along with a great team defense, but the main thing that they will bring into this NBA Finals will be a strong knowledge of how the Miami Heat operate & since the rosters are basically the same as last year, there won’t be the intimidation from the “Big 3” in LeBron, Wade & Bosh because the Spurs have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili, along with quite possibly a deeper supporting cast.
From the Miami Heat, they also bring in the confidence of being able to beat the Spurs, but the Heat have to understand that both teams will be rested, the Spurs will be able to be fundamentally sound, something that the Indiana Pacers didn’t do one bit during the Eastern Conference Finals.
When you look at the Miami Heat right now, they can play any style in the NBA, but had they played Oklahoma City, they would have been more prepared for that fast style. But the Miami Heat has a different incentive that will motivate them – the chance for a 3-peat in NBA Championships, something that hasn’t been done since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000-2002.
LeBron, Wade & Bosh may or may not be together much longer after this season so if it will happen, it will need to happen this year & possibly next year. Dwyane Wade has turned it around this playoff year, being healthy & being far more explosive to the basket than he has been in the Finals last year, which could mean that he could get another year out of his body after this series. But Wade knows that Father Time is ticking on his career.
The style that the Spurs play, however, with their fundamental sets will force LeBron, Wade & Bosh to be more basic in their offensive sets if they don’t push & control the tempo early, which means getting out in fastbreak, moving quickly & making sure they don’t have turnovers & be able to make the Spurs play the series in transition, which is one of their weaknesses.
In terms of injuries, the Heat have some light injuries to legendary three-point shooter Ray Allen & big man Chris “Birdman” Andersen, but those should be okay by the time we get to Thursday night.
The Spurs have to worry about their point guard Tony Parker, who had some kind of leg injury & wasn’t around in the second half. If Parker isn’t even close to 100% that will completely change the Spurs game, even though it was enough to stop the Thunder tonight. With Parker not 100%, it will shut down their ability to drive to the basket because the one other main slashers they have are Ginobili & Leonard, which means you can put 4 in the paint & a guard on either one of those guys, depending on who has the ball.
Overall, this is going to be one of the best NBA Finals in recent memory. This should go 7 games yet again, but with San Antonio having home court this time around, our prediction is the Spurs in 7, which will send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili into retirement.