KSAT Ball Hog Blog: Class vs. Flash: Preview, prediction for Spurs-Heat
SAN ANTONIO - There's so many storylines to these NBA Finals that it's nearly impossible to list them all.
The Spurs' Big 3 versus Miami's Big 3. Duncan's quest for five rings and NBA immortality.
Wade cementing his Hall of Fame career before his knees completely give way. Parker and Manu's journey back to the mountain top after three early titles, then five years of disappointment.
LeBron's revenge for '07. Coach Popovich moving onto the NBA's Mt. Rushmore of coaches.
The possibility of seven future Hall of Famers on the court at once including Ray "Jesus Shuttlesworth" Allen.
I can go on, but the thing that sticks out to me most is when the Spurs and Heat take the floor for Game 1 of the Finals, we will no doubt see greatness on both ends.
This Finals matchup has been years in the making. Miami's flash versus San Antonio's class.
I can talk strategy, but it comes down to simple things. Make shots, rebound, play smart and in the immortal words of Coach Pop: TURNOVERS. TURNOVERS.
The Finals also come down to superstars. The Heat will come full force at Parker to get the ball out of his hands, but Miami hasn’t seen a point guard of TP’s caliber throughout the playoffs. His slashing ability and quickness will give the Heat problems. Parker has been big time these playoffs and I don’t expect that to change.
We know what we will get out of Timmy-D. He’s no longer the focal point of the offense, but efficient as ever. TD will get his 18 and 10 per game, and even throw in a few old-school Duncan 24 point, 10 rebound, 5 block performances. Just ask Memphis.
Manu is a major X-factor. Ginobili must facilitate the offense when the Heat double TP. Manu needs to get to the basket often and stretch the Miami defense. There’s simply no other Spur besides Parker suited to do this.
Are Kawhi, Danny Green and Tiago ready for this? They better be because they will be asked to defend Miami’s Big 3 often. Leonard is the guy to watch. The stage never seems to big for him, but he faces the challenge of his life trying to contain LeBron.
Leonard’s scoring is key, but with his plate full defensively, Green and Splitter will have to pick up the slack offensively. In every Finals there always seems to be a few role players that come out of nowhere to have big games. Who’s going to step up? Will it be Diaw, Bonner or the Birdman and Haslem for Miami? God forbid its Shane Battier hitting 3s and taking charges. Please no!
Back to the stars, and in the NBA universe, everything revolves around the 4-time MVP LeBron James.
D-Wade literally seems to be on his last leg and Chris Bosh is a shell of himself. That’s not to say either one can’t come up big in key moments as we saw with Game 7 against Indiana, but this is LeBron’s Finals to win or lose.
James controls every aspect of the game. I recently heard a national broadcaster refer to James as the Locomotive and the nickname stuck with me because Bron is Miami’s do-it-all engine. He’s called upon to do everything and that will most likely include guarding Parker at some point, a matchup I can’t wait to see.
But therein lies the problem for Miami. If Wade were healthy and Bosh was playing better, than I would have no problem saying the Heat win this series, but they are not and LeBron has had to revert to the Cleveland version of himself more often.
I can see LeBron willing Miami to victory because he’s LeBron and that’s just what he does, but the pressure is on him once again. The All-time greats like Jordan, Magic, Kareem and Bird never lost 3 of 4 NBA Finals.
One way of the other we will see something special in this series. Either LeBron tarnishes the Spurs dynasty or San Antonio overthrows the King.
It’s the ultimate version of a great player against great team. I will personally go with the great team every time, but LeBron is the one player who makes me re-think that notion. Spurs win an epic, hard fought 7-game series.
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