Tag Archive | "NBA Finals analysis"

2014 NBA Finals – Rematch between San Antonio and Miami

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The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are back at it in a rematch of last year’s championship series.  Miami goes for a three-peat while San Antonio will try to avenge last season’s disappointing end at the hands of Miami.  This year’s series shouldn’t be as close as last year’s seven game series.

 

San Antonio will need Tony Parker to be playing at his best, and with his current injury issues, that will be a question mark.  Tim Duncan is one of the 10 best players in NBA history and will play like that.  The Spurs don’t need to worry about Tim Duncan’s play, which is good.  They have enough other concerns to keep them awake at nights.

 

As good as Kawhi Leonard is, he just doesn’t have enough to stop LeBron James.  Dwayne Wade will exploit the shooting guard matchup.  And, even if Tony Parker were 100 percent, his advantage over Mario Chalmers, a vastly underrated player, would be minimal.

 

At first glance (assuming Tony Parker is up to par), San Antonio has advantages at three positions in the starting lineup.  Parker is better than Chalmers and, even if Chris Bosh defends Tim Duncan, Duncan will still have an advantage, as he would over anyone against whom he is matched up.  Tiago Splitter plays his role well and similar to the players at Miami’s center position, rebounds and defends the rim.  San Antonio has a strong bench as does Miami.  Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, and Manu Ginobili are quality bench players but are basically the same type of players as Miami’s best bench players – Shane Battier, Norris Cole, and Ray Allen.

 

Diaw and Battier are guys who can play both forward positions, defend well, and hit outside shots.  Mills and Cole are point guards who are very good from three point range.  And, Ginobili and Ray Allen are both outside shooters who work off screens.  Thus, the bench matchup is even.

 

While, as indicated, San Antonio appears to have a starting lineup advantage, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra can make a simple change to neutralize San Antonio’s edge by inserting Udonis Haslem in the starting lineup at power forward and moving Chris Bosh to center.  Duncan will still have the advantage, but Haslem will bang Duncan on the defensive end throughout the series.  Any offense Haslem provides is like found money.  Chris Bosh will stretch the floor at center and take Splitter and his rim protection out of the paint allowing for James and Wade to drive to the rim and get easy baskets and free throws, the bread and butter of their respective games.

 

San Antonio is well coached and will rarely beat themselves.  They stick to their game plan through thick and thin.  All these qualities are what you need to beat a powerhouse like the Heat.  The problem for San Antonio is that Miami has all these qualities as well.

 

Erik Spoelstra is a very underrated coach, and a two-time defending champion team does not get to that point by beating themselves either.  Gregg Popovich may have the upper hand initially in the coaching matchup, but Spoelstra will make all the needed adjustments.

 

San Antonio does have home court advantage in this series, which they did not have last year.  The Finals are no longer employing the 2-3-2 format, and the 2-2-1-1-1 format used in every other series provides nowhere near the home court advantage as the 2-3-2.

 

LeBron James has had many triple doubles in his career, but won’t be able to pull off a ‘triple-triple’ (winning league MVP, Finals MVP, and championship in three straight seasons), because Kevin Durant was league MVP this year, but he should get a ‘triple-double’ he has never had before (Finals MVP and championship in three straight seasons).  In summary, Miami has too much firepower for San Antonio and will take this series in six (or, maybe fewer games than that).

 

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