Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan are going to look to continue their NBA Finals dominance going 5-0 during their time with the San Antonio Spurs. What may make it even more sweet with a series victory this time around is that this is easily the best team they have played in the NBA Finals and Lebron James is now, unlike in the 2007 finals, in the peak of his career. He has a lot more help around him this time and while he has always been a great athlete, he very well could be the best athlete in the world at this point.
So how does San Antonio win this series? It’ll come down to something the Spurs almost always have an advantage in. That is their bench and role players. The Spurs are a deeper team than Miami. In my opinion, it’s not even really close. Take away the top 3 from each team. The Spurs still have Tiago Splitter, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Nando De Colo, Patty Mills, etc. The Heat have Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Chris Andersen, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, etc. All the players on the Heat I’ve mentioned are older. So the comments about the Spurs being too old are talked about too frequently. Yes, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are older, but the rest of the team is pretty young and most of those guys were in college pretty recently.
What scares me in this series about San Antonio is that unlike the Indiana Pacers, they do not have as much an inside presence with Splitter. Splitter’s a good player and he knows his role with the Spurs, but he is not Roy Hibbert. Hibbert has established himself as one of the best centers in the NBA over the last couple years and was the emotional leader of Indiana. He had a very good postseason with rebounding and simply dominated the Knicks and had a couple very good games vs. the Heat too. The Spurs are going to have trouble though having the same success the Pacers had with Hibbert at times in that series. Splitter is crucial in this series though. If he plays well, the Spurs will definitely find themselves with a chance here. Many people going into the postseason were doubtful of the Spurs ability to make a deep run and it was because of Splitter having a couple injuries late in the season as well as some others the Spurs had. He’s back and the Spurs have went 12-2 in this postseason which is even better than Miami have done who is 12-3 thus far.
Like I mentioned in the Pacers series, a lingering theme has been how healthy is Dwayne Wade and what can he provide. Anyone whose watched the NBA recently knows that we’re not exactly watching the 2006 NBA Finals Dwayne Wade. He’s gotten old in a hurry and is certainly an old 31. If Wade doesn’t have a good series, I don’t believe the Heat will win.
Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker must also come ready to play. If those two have mediocre series, there is no way I see the Spurs winning. But I think they’ll have decent series and do enough to keep San Antonio in it. Another key and one I think the Spurs will have trouble with is how do they defend Lebron? I don’t think defensively they have someone like Paul George who can do a decent job on James and can see Lebron having a huge series.
This should be a fun series and the NBA got what it wanted thanks to Miami destroying Indiana in game 7. I would be very surprised if this didn’t go to at least 6 games but I think this has a great shot at being 7.
The Spurs are champions and winners and it’s tough to take them out and the Heat are going to have to earn it to do so. It says a lot about the Spurs character with guys like Tim Duncan who are still so driven for that fifth title. The Spurs are into the idea of them going 5-0 for Duncan and Popovich and are a team of pride. It will not be easy, but from December this year, I thought this Spurs team was special. They had been the best San Antonio team I’ve seen in a long time and were a team that could win both a grind out game and a fast paced game. You saw the Spurs with scores in the 120s this year which is something they’d never were able to do prior. An “old” team isn’t supposed to win games like that. Yet they do. I am a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant is my favorite player in the league now, but even with Russell Westbrook healthy, I would’ve picked the Spurs to avenge their loss to them in the Western Conference Finals. I just believe the Spurs are that good of a team this year. I won’t stop at the Western Finals either. This team is a great example of the great game of basketball as it is meant to be played. Great fundamentals, teamwork, reliance on one another to make the right plays, and more. The Heat are a great team too…any team that goes 44-3 is. But at the end of the day, the Spurs are the better team. They may very well want this title more than the Heat and that makes them dangerous. I think Duncan walks off into the sunset with his fifth ring in a couple weeks.
Spurs in 7