The Miami Heat are looking to win their second straight NBA title. Miami will have their hands full with the San Antonio Spurs, a team that is looking to hang its fifth championship banner in the last 14 years. Ever since The Decision, where LeBron James announced to the world he was leaving Cleveland for Miami, the Heat have been the team that people either love, or love to hate. The formation of the Big 3, consisting of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, was so polarizing that the league changed its financial structure and enforcement to prevent it from happening again. While the Heat’s Big 3 get a lot of attention, the Spurs’ have a mighty Big 3 of their own. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili, and Tony Parker are a force to be reckoned with and have proven themselves with numerous championship rings. These are the two best teams in the league, and this series will prove which team truly deserves to be called champion.
Let’s take a look at what is going to make the difference in these Finals
Spurs’ pick-and-roll vs. Heat’s perimeter defense
The Heat have great perimeter defense, probably as good as anyone in the league. The Spurs have a pick-and-roll expert in Tony Parker. Whichever team can control this aspect of the game will have a major advantage in the series.
Can the Heat protect the rim?
If the Heat have a real weakness, it is protection down low on defense. They need to find a way to stop Tim Duncan from having his way on the post, and they need to stop Parker from penetrating the defense and getting to the hoop. Definitely easier said than done versus this lineup.
Can the Spurs slow down the Heat in transition?
Nobody runs the fast break like LeBron and Wade, nobody. If Miami is allowed to run freely, this series will be over before San Antonio can catch its collective breath.
The Heat are not great when it comes to team rebounding, but neither is San Antonio. A team that doesn’t rebound is a team that gives away possessions, and both these opponents are too good to give them any extra chances.
Can Ray Allen get hot?
Ray Allen is going to have a big effect on this series. If he can hit some open threes, not only will it put points on the scoreboard and take some pressure of LeBron and Wade, it will force the Spurs to step out and guard him tight. That will open up lanes and space for James and Wade to dissect the defense.
The X factor: Manu Ginóbili
When Manu is on a hot streak, there is no defense that can stop him. The Heat could bring out a sixth defender, but Ginóbili would still find a way to get the ball in the hoop. The only problem is that Manu has been known to be streaky during his career.
Home Court Advantage
The Heat will have the home court advantage in this series because they won more games during the regular season. The question is can they take advantage of it? They let both Chicago and Indiana come in and steal a game in Miami, that won’t be so easy to overcome versus this San Antonio squad.
Rest vs. Rust
San Antonio swept Memphis right out of the Western Conference Finals, giving them time to sit back and watch the Heat slug it out with Indiana in a grueling seven-game series. It’s tough to tell if a team will take advantage of the extra rest and come out energized, or if they will lose their rhythm and come out looking rusty.
The bottom line is this: This is going to be a well-played, intense, exciting series of basketball. Look for this series to go the full seven games before crowning the best team in the NBA.
This is just part 1 of everything you need to know about the 2013 NBA finals. Check out Part 2 and part 3:
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