Hi, today’s post will be about the upcoming Game 1 of the Nba Finals. The Miami Heat vs the San Antonio Spurs. I believe there are 3 key areas that will help to determine the winner of this series. This is a series of fine margins but whichever team is able to constantly win these 3 areas will stand a huge chance of bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy.
1. Bench production
The team whose bench is able to consistently produce while their starters rest will help to shift their series in their favour. The Spurs’ bench lead the postseason in mins per game(19.8), 3 pointers attempted(11.7), steals per game(3.6) & points per game(42.7).
The Heat’s bench has been pretty good, coming up with well in the various categories with mins per game(17.2), 3 pointers attempted(10.0). Except maybe for the steals per game(1.6) & points per game(26.5) where they aren’t as good as the mighty Spurs. However, the Heat are better than the Spurs at 3 point field goal percentage(40%) compared to the Spurs(37.6%) & in +/- the Heat leads the postseason with 3.8 compared to San Antonio’s 3.1 which is 1st & 2nd respectively in the playoffs.
This shows that both teams’ bench do not disrupt the flow of their play even when their starters take a break. But with such a deep bench and role players who know their jobs well, the Spurs gets the advantage over the Heat in this aspect.
Advantage San Antonio
2. Which Big 3 will bring it?
The Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs both have a Big 3 of their own, albeit there are slight differences, it will be interesting to see which Big 3 is able to impose their presence on this series. Will Parker’s ankle bother him? What about Wade’s knees? Will Ginobili be able to produce at a high level consistently for this series? Will Bosh bring his ‘A’ game every time?
I believe the rest will help both Wade & Parker heal, or at least let them get to about 80%, but as this series goes on, perhaps we will see one of them let their play get a bit affected by their injuries. Hopefully this won’t be the case.
Manu only managed to average 11.5 ppg for last year’s playoff. This year he is currently at 14.3 ppg, so i would expect Ginobili to be ready to go the moment Game 1 starts. Bosh will not be expected to put up huge numbers but he is currently at 15.2 ppg, an increase from last season 12.1 ppg during the playoffs. Expect him to be ready and he will want to erase last year’s memory of 0 points in Game 7.
I expect the decisive factor to be between Duncan and James. Although Duncan is without a doubt the greatest power forward of all time and is still performing at a ridiculous level. James’ versatility will be hard to match and it will be difficult trying to keep him quiet during this series.
3. LeBron’s Jumper
Yes, will LeBron bring his Jumper? Since the 2010-11 postseason, LeBron has shot 37.4%, 35.9%, 37.2% and 41.9% from the mid range thus far. Remember that the mid range is the most inefficient shot in terms of points and it really isn’t one of LeBron strength, although to be fair to him, he has worked on it. With such a tough defender like Leonard and you can expect the Spurs to continue to go under screens and defend the paint, LeBron has to find ways to score and knock down the occasional open jumper.
Note that in his first season with the Heat, in the Finals against the Mavs’s zone defense, LeBron only managed to shoot 33.3% in the paint. Against the Spurs last season, LeBron managed only 21.1% in the paint. His averages in the paint for both of the postseasons were 37.7% & 34% respectively. Compare these to when he played OKC in the 2011-12 finals, he averaged 38.1% in the paint with a post season average of 45.1%.
In 2010-11 against the Mavs, LeBron shot 38.1% from mid range, but that was because he only attempted 21 shots. Compare it to last year’s final against the Spurs(48). It’s easy to see why it’s so high. Because he wasn’t aggressive enough then and because the Spurs are forcing him to shoot. If LeBron can make them pay, it’s going to be a short series for San Antonio. If LeBron misses too much, he has to find other ways to contribute or else number 5 is going back to Texas.
Advantage? Find out in Game 1.
To be honest, i would like to see LeBron succeed. I would like to see him go for the 3peat and win it all again. But i really respect what the Spurs have achieved at the same time and it would be really great for Timmy and Pop to get ring number 5. My heart says Heat in 6, but my mind says Spurs in 7. Either way, it’s definitely going to be a great series.