Alright, so it is opening night for the NBA Finals. Everyone is making their picks and I’m shocked. All season long everyone just assumed Miami would win and now, after 3 bad games(but still winning the series mind you), the Spurs are the popular pick. We’re such victims of moment and not the entirety of the picture. My pick is Miami in 7. Here’s why:
Let’s start with the obvious, Miami is 52-7 over their last 59 games. 47-2 vs everyone except the Pacers. Despite all the obvious ailments of Miami they continue to win, so why would that change now? The not so obvious; The Spurs playoff dominance through the playoffs has been heavily overstated. Let’s not forget 4 of their 14 games so far were played against the lowly Lakers with Andrew Goudeluck and Darius Morris starting the last 2 games of that series. A 6 game series vs the Warriors with a very limited David Lee and Steph Curry’s ankles falling apart(again). And a 4 game series, that truthfully could have gone either way, vs the Grizzlies who, mind you, probably couldn’t score 100pts in a gym by themselves in 48 minutes. So while I am not necessarily taking anything away from the Spurs, the reality is their playoff dominance is overstated and all their playoff rankings and numbers slightly skewed.
Another frequent misguided reason I’m hearing is “if Chris Bosh struggled with Hibbert, Tim Duncan will be a tougher matchup.” Yes, 10yrs ago. But today’s Tim Duncan is a jumpshooter. And while I would assume the Spurs may post Duncan more than usual, he does not have the height or girth of Hibbert that gave Bosh so much trouble. Bosh will be more in a comfort zone vs the spurs. As will D-Wade. The Spurs are a good defensive team, the Pacers were the best defensive team. Wade will likely be on Danny Green and Pop will undoubtedly run Wade off picks and around the court to test his knee but if Danny Green becomes a focal point for the Spurs I don’t think they can win the series.
Another misconception, that Tony Parker and the Spurs don’t turn the ball over. Tony Parker averaged over 4 turnovers a game vs Memphis. About 3 vs Golden St. Ginobli averaged about 3.5 vs Memphis and 3 vs Golden St. If those trends continue, that’ll be about 7 turnovers a night from the Spurs backcourt. Add to that Miami’s ability to force role players out of comfort zones you’ll most certainly see that number matched by the combined role players and Duncan. And as a series gets tighter and tighter, the role players ball handling tends to get more and more loose.
Lastly, I’m not a big subscriber to the rest vs rust theory, but I am to momentum. Momentum can change easily but the Heat, having had to gear up and play a game 7 just a few days ago in the same building, have the momentum and are most likely still on that confidence high. They are more in a normal, high level flow, than the Spurs. The Spurs will be well rested and that will serve them will later in the series but early on matching the intensity and desperation level of a team that just had its backs against the wall will prove difficult.
Ultimately though, besides LeBron James, the Heat have a another level they can play at when it matters most. One rarely seen ever in basketball, or any level. It’s kind of Super-Sayian like, lol. Maintaining it for multiple games is difficult but as they have shown over the last 2 playoff runs; when their backs are against the wall, they rise to the occasion.
Here are my series keys for Miami to win: Chalmers+Cole+Allen+Battier+Miller must combine for about 33 points on a nightly basis. They are the spacers.
Bosh+Haslem+Anderson must get 20 rebounds between them. Neither team is dominant on the boards and are very efficient offensively so there won’t be many to get.
Bosh+Wade must have at least 30+ points combined, they don’t have to be great but they have to be better than vs the Pacers.
Heat force 14 or more turnovers.
Keys for a Spurs win:
Leonard+Green+Splitter must combine for a minimum of 27 points nightly. If they do they keep the Heat defense honest and they can’t rotate early to cutoff Parker penetration.
Splitter+Duncan+Diaw combine for 25 rebounds. The Spurs must win the rebounding battle. The Heat almost always win in turnover differential, this is where you can make up those possessions.
Ginobli, just show up. He has had some big moments in these playoffs but moments won’t beat the Heat. He needs to be consistent.
Spurs must avoid turning the ball over 15 or more times. More possessions for the best player in the world, in transition no less, is not the recipe for success.
Thanks for reading! Sorry for the infrequent posting, life has gotten me busy. But stay tuned for more! Like, comment, follow, and share! Life of A Basketball Addict.