Heat vs Spurs – Series Preview & Pick

Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs

NBA Finals Preview

June 5, 2014

Series Prices: Miami -105 / San Antonio -125

For the first time since Michael Jordan’s Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998, a pair of teams will face off in back to back NBA Finals. Players will be looking to add to their legacies, and basketball will be on center stage as the NBA’s best collide.

As the Spurs look to exact revenge on the Heat, the Heat are looking to put their stamp on the basketball world as the NBA’s next dynasty. For 12 months, we wanted a rematch. Now, the wait is finally over.

Without further ado, here are a few reasons why each team could soon be hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy, earning the right to call themselves NBA champions:

Why San Antonio will win:

There are no guarantees in life (except for death and taxes), but I can assure you the Spurs have not forgotten the way the 2013 NBA Finals ended. The Spurs were a mere 5.3 seconds away from their fifth NBA championship, until Ray Allen sent a dagger through the heartland of Texas, forcing Game 6 into overtime. As we all saw, the rest was history.

San Antonio entered the 2014 NBA Playoffs with more wins than one year ago (62), earning home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Undoubtedly the best team in the league all season long, once the calendar turned to May the Spurs have yet to lose a home game in the playoffs, going 7-0.

Winning each game by at least 17 points, the Spurs’ home court has spelled doom for the opposition. The Spurs will attack early and often. If Miami decides to take a game off, which we’ve seen during these playoffs, they could certainly be in trouble.

Led by All-Star point guard Tony Parker, the Spurs offense never misses a beat. Parker can get to the basket at any time, and his execution of the pick-and-roll has reminded us all of the days when John Stockton and Karl Malone’s two-man game was simply a masterpiece to watch. Parker’s continuous ability to find the open shooter is one of the many reasons why he’ll end up in Springfield, Massachusetts when his career is over.

Miami must be able to defend the three-point line. Not only do the Spurs take advantage of any mismatch in the paint, but the Spurs are also loaded with shooters that continuously drain 3 pointers. As teams collapse on Duncan, sharpshooters such as Danny Green and Marco Belinelli, have found their shooters touch, making them deadly from beyond the arc. Green, who is shooting an impressive 48 percent from three-point range during the playoffs, will look to repeat his shooting performance from last years final. But even more impressive, was his 65.2% from deep in three home games against the Thunder in the conference finals.

While the Spurs offense has been nothing short of impressive, their defense has also put on a show, making life difficult for opposing superstars. In the earlier rounds, the Spurs defense was able to contain Dirk Nowitzki, LaMarcus Aldridge, and the dangerous duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who were all held below their season average in their respective series.

But this time Kawhi Leonard will be asked to defend LeBron James, a whole different animal. The task for Leonard is simple. If he can’t help slow down James, the Heat will be an offensive juggernaut. If San Antonio can make James settle for jump shots, the Spurs will be one step closer to hoisting the championship trophy that eluded them last season.

The Spurs have unprecedented depth, and the Heat pose no match for the Spurs second unit. While all the pressure will be on James and Dwyane Wade to score for the Heat, the Spurs can and will rely heavily on their bench, who have produced all season long.

Although Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich are under contract for next season, don’t’ be surprised if Duncan and Pop decide to call it quits together after this season. And there would be no better time than after winning their fifth NBA championship.

Why Miami will win:

In order for the Miami Heat to become the only the second team to three-peat during the post-Jordan era, joining the 2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers, the formula is simple. LeBron James must be LeBron James for the entire series. Although he failed to win the NBA MVP award, he’s still the best player on the planet and the best player on the court in each game these playoffs.

Although the two-time defending champions will go as far as James takes them, a burden still falls on the shoulders of Dwayne Wade, who appears to be rejuvenated during these playoffs. Averaging 18.7 points and shooting 51.9 percent in the playoffs, both way up from last year, Wade’s health and injury woes are no longer a concern.

Having scored in double figures in all 15 of Miami’s playoff games, Wade is once again a pivotal contributor on offense. With Wade playing at the top of his game and James’ ability to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, no team stretches the floor as well as the Heat, making life easy for Ray Allen, who will look to be the hero once again.

It’s no secret that the Heat have proven their ability to turn it on in the playoffs when the stakes are at their highest. Well, the stakes don’t get any bigger than the NBA finals. Therefore, expect Miami to be at their best.

My Pick:

For me, this series comes down to one thing and one thing only. One team has LeBron James and the other team doesn’t. And just as I’d never bet against Michael Jordan, in the 2014 NBA Finals I’m certainly not betting against LeBron James. Although the Spurs have the better coach, the better team, and the deeper bench, they are still missing one thing: a king who isn’t ready to give up his throne just yet.

Heat in 6 (+300)

June 4, 2014 by : Posted in Picks and Predictions No Comments
Adam Rosen

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Adam Rosen is a seasoned sports writer with special interests in Pro Football and Basketball. He has been picking sports games against the spread for years, and has posted a 56% win rate over his last 75 predictions.

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