It is that time of year. The time where basketball fans from all over the globe come together to observe, discuss and debate the biggest event that the NBA has to offer, that is right the NBA Finals are here. The Miami Heat will go into battle with the highly decorated San Antonio Spurs. It is no secret that the once invincible Heat have been exposed to an extent. The much rougher and bigger Indiana Pacers beat up the smaller Heat inside, they dominated the glass in almost every game of the Eastern Conference Finals. To the average NBA fan, a red flag would raise. Fortunately for the Heat, well more so for Chris Bosh the San Antonio Spurs are not as muscle-heavy as the Pacers. Bosh will not have to expend twice as much energy battling on the glass. I fully expect Miami’s 118 million dollar investment to be more productive this series. If he can start to hit his mid-range shot he will effectively pull Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter away from the basket which will create open lanes to the basket for Wade and James. Do not overlook the fact that Bosh averages 17 points per game against Tim Duncan.
Although Bosh’s productivity will be a key factor in this series, the Heat do not win if Dwayne Wade does not come ready to play. He was less than impressive throughout this postseason except for game 7. Miami needs to see the Dwayne Wade of old. On the other side of the coin, San Antonio has a slumping superstar in Manu Ginobili. Much like Miami, the Spurs need their ailing star to pick up his slack.
In regards to superstars, Miami has what many think to be the best superstar in the entire league, LeBron James. I am willing to wager that James has not forgotten the pain he felt when San Antonio swept his 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers team. Last year’s NBA Finals should provide sufficient evidence that when LeBron seeks out redemption, he takes his game to another level, a level most fans have not witnessed since Michael Jordan. James will tap into his memory bank and unleash the beast within. If I were to predict a stat line for LeBron, I would say: 28.5 points per game on 52 percent shooting, 8 rebounds per game and 6.5 assists per game. San Antonio will have their hands full with LeBron defensively, but do not be surprised if Erik Spoelstra places LeBron on Tony Parker in late game situations which creates problems on both sides of the floor for the Spurs. With King James leading the charge, the future looks good in South Beach.
To be fair to San Antonio, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are superstars of the highest order. First, we have Duncan, “Mr. Fundamental.” He has dominated the Power forward position for more than a decade. He has never lost on the grandest stage and will be inducted into basketball immortality after he retires. San Antonio’s superstar has never stopped his elite level of play. Although his numbers have diminished over the years, Duncan deserves credit for finding ways to tailor his game in a way that allows him to run with the new generation of players. Duncan is looking to end his career with one more title. I do not know if he will retire after this season, but at age 37 it is more than reasonable to think that he probably will not return to the NBA Finals again. He will have a tough task dealing with a much younger, quicker and more athletic Chris Bosh. Duncan will hold his own defensively and with Greg Popovich running the show, he will produce on the offense side of the ball as well.
When you are the leader of a team for many years you become the heart and soul of the organization. That heart and soul begins to age, and with age it is the heart and soul’s duty to give the majority of the labor to the up and coming talent. This is exact relationship between Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Parker handles the majority of the offensive load for the Spurs team. He has been dubbed the best point guard of the postseason. Rightfully so, he has been incredible and he will carry his momentum into the NBA Finals. He creates a lot of matchup problems for the Heat. He is too fast for Mario Chalmers and he will use his experience to outwit a young Norris Cole. Parker is a battled tested veteran who is undefeated in the Finals. Nothing will come easy against him. Different looks will be thrown his way defensively, but at the end of the day there is not much you can do to stop him when he gets going.
This is not an easy pick, as a Heat fan I see where they can be beat. And the same goes for the Spurs. I truly believe that Wade and Bosh will come ready to play because they know what is on the line. This series will go the distance. Duncan and Ginobili look to cap off amazing careers, while Parker, James, Wade and Bosh all look to further validate theirs.
I am going with the Miami Heat to wins this series in 7 games. They have the ultimate weapon in LeBron James. I appreciate what Tim Duncan and the Spurs have done for this league, but it is Miami’s time to hoist multiple championships trophies.