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Three quick thoughts on Heat-Spurs

First, here's a rundown of the series schedule:

Game 1, Thursday, 9 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena

Game 2, Sunday, 8 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena

Game 3, Tuesday, 9 p.m., AT&T Center

Game 4, Thursday, 9 p.m., AT&T Center

Game 5, Sunday, 8 p.m., AT&T Center

Game 6, Tuesday, 9 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena

Game 7, Thursday, 9 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena

So, here's three storylines rolling around in my head on this off day before the madness begins...

PREPARE FOR A LOVE FEST
Savor that Eastern Conference finals and all of its built-in conflict. Build up for the NBA Finals will likely be a love fest between the Heat and Spurs. The competition: Which team can give its opponent a nicer compliment before the games begin?

LeBron James idolizes Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and Coach Pop will be lauding praise upon LeBron like he's the second coming of Hermes, the Greek god of athletics.

Seriously, this series would have been a lot more interesting if Stephen Jackson were still around. Oh, well.

THEY KNEW ALL ALONG
It's almost like the Heat and Spurs knew they were going to meet in The Finals all along. Popovich famously sent his leading scorers home for the Heat's home game against the Spurs this season. Erik Spoelstra returned the favor in San Antonio, resting LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on March 31.

The Heat won both regular-season matchups, and both games were fascinating in different ways. The Heat needed a clutch three-pointer by Ray Allen to knock off the Spurs in Miami despite San Antonio playing without its six leading scorers. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Dany Green weren't even with the team and Kawhi Leonard didn't play. The Spurs started Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, Nando De Colo and Patty Mills and nearly won the game. Gary Neal led the Spurs with 20 points off the bench. Neal is averaging 5.5 points per game in the playoffs.

In conclusion, good luck analyzing this series based on the regular-season matchups. It's pointless!

'X' FACTORS
Leonard is the Spurs' version of Pacers forward Lance Stephenson, only Leonard is already an established NBA standout and is better than Stephenson in every way. How Leonard matches up with LeBron defensively will be a key to the series.

For the Heat, the 'X' factor is Dwyane Wade. If he plays like he did in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, then the Heat might have the edge in the series. For his career, Wade enters The Final averaging 24.9 points in 14 games against the Spurs.

Comments

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Heat in 6! Book it! Everyone can thank me later.

bky, u funny...

I'm not picking.. I think this match up has to be played at least one game before I pick how many games...

I'll do you one better bky, and say, Heat in 5.

GATORS Haslem and Miller for the HEAT and Bonner for the SPURS... No wonder these two teams made the NBA FINALS !

12 Current GATORS on NBA Rosters could have their own team and make the FINALS playing BILLYBALL !!!

Is there even just 1 Former Cane Ch[]_[]cking, Clanking, Cl[]_[]nker Cager in the D-League ?

^^^ don't know about the D-League, but one long haired rebounder from Chicago is on break right now, after the HEAT (not the Gators) sent him packing.

This is the NBA, not the JV league (college hoops).

Finally driving to the rim and not being intimidated by Hibbert and West lead to a Heat rout.

The Spurs swept a "big men" team like the Grizzles.

The Spurs had more trouble with a 3-point shooting team like the Warriors.

With the Pacers, Miami attacking the slow big men in the paint finished them off.

With the Spurs, if Miami shoots well against their poor perimeter defense they can win.

In the Spurs showdown, the effectiveness of Allen, Battier, Bosh, Chalmers, James, etc. getting baskets from the outside will determine the series.

Parker, Duncan et al are too savvy on the inside to stop.

Dissecting the two games the Spurs lost against the GSW, I observed the Spurs conceding the 3-point shots and being burned by that.

The Spurs rely on the very smart Duncan inside, but their perimeter defense is suspect.

I feel like this is going to be a repeat of the Dallas Mavericks series where The Heat also played against hungry Hall-of-Fame veterans and a great coach.

Bosh needs to stop being "soft" and we'll see if the additions of Allen and Andersen will be the difference.

Great points, Leonard. I wonder if Shane Battier will rejoin the rotation for The Finals or be left on the bench after his disastrous series against Indiana. He should have better looks against the Spurs.

Posted by: Leonard Kreicas | Tuesday, June 04, 2013 at 06:50 PM: "The Spurs rely on the very smart Duncan inside, but their perimeter defense is suspect."

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Huh?

Spurs allowed the 5th LEAST 3PAs per game (cf. Miami's 7th MOST) *and* allowed the same conversion rate as the Heat (35%).

Warriors LED the league in 3PA% (40%) all season but converted only 27% vs. Spurs.

Also, while Duncan is still da man in the blocks, Splitter has a big and somewhat equivalent role in San Antonio's interior d. Spurs eFG% allowed is +3% when Duncan and/or Splitter are oncourt.

It's the Heat who'll have to stay on their toes against San Antonio's perimeter. Green, Leonard, Bonner are all converting 40+% of their 3s this postseason with Parker chipping in at 38% & Ginobili (32%) capable of heating up at any time.

Otherwise, I like the overall matchups v. the Spurs. Bosh held his own against Duncan even pre-Heat. Since he's joined MIA, CB4 is 3-1, though Duncan still leads the overall head2head 9-6.

Wade v. Ginobili/Green will be a war only because Ginobili is so crafty (read floptastic) at drawing charges. But Wade can't afford to let up. Wade the jumpshooter is Pop's dream-come-true. Green has fresher wheels, but Wade should have his way against him on *and* off the ball.

Don't look now -- but I actually like Chalmers v. Parker *IF* Rio brings his B-for-BRAINS game. Parker has *NEVER* really gone off on Rio (no 20pt OR double-dime games) while Chalmers has converted 50+% of his FGAs, 53% of his 3PAs against Parker/SAS.

Bron should have his way with Green/Leonard/Diaw. Diaw, normally a solid defender, has never been very effective v. James (incl. his stint at Charlotte). Sure, Pop will swarm James early and often but even that may not be enuff.

Andersen/UD vs. Splitter/Bonner et al. shouldn't be overlooked. Spurs don't really have an answer to Andersen's energy while UD, as usual, will make up for shortness on length w/plenty of grit.

A good(fingers crossed) series from Miami's bench, particularly stretchers, would close the deal. Ray, Mike, Rashard will have plenty of ops to turn games.

Sorry NoNo. Cole will have his moments too. Just hope, more good than bad (keeping your head), especially against a sneaky punk like Parker.

Battier too. This is a made-for-Shane series (on defense) if his wheels are fresh. Spurs, like the Heat, have interchangeable parts. Versatility/all-purpose utility will be critical.

I think it's a given Shave will be back in his normal rotation minutes. That BS about him not being able to guard whoever from the Pacers, was just that, BS. He sat because he wasn't hitting his shots. If he was going 3 for 5 from behind the arc every game in the past series, he still would have played.

Parker's defense is just slightly better than Steve Nash's, that's a plus for the Heat. But he still can carve up any defense, (+ Spurs).

There are several exCanes on NBA rosters....someone needs to research more! DeQuan Jones, James Salmons,and right here on the Heat roster: James Jones....

Appreciate the compliments to the Spurs y'all.

It will be a great series. Love to watch the Heat when they come to Atlanta to play.

Good Luck,

Rcat

Hey Joe, remember when you picked OKC to win last year's Finals?

Here we are talking about this team in June again. Got to love this team.

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