Spurs in 7

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Raffy Ledesma

Raffy Ledesma

The San Antonio Spurs have taken Game 1 of the best-of-seven series versus the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. There is a lot at stake here. LeBron James is trying to cement his already significant legacy with a 3rd straight NBA title. Tim Duncan, meanwhile, will get a chance at his 5th title, which will give him more bragging rights than Kobe Bryant due to his longevity and the consistent success of the Spurs.

I will go out on a limb here and predict that the Spurs will win in 7 games. Here is a quick analysis of the match-up:

1) FRONTCOURT—The Heat have the best player on the planet leading their frontcourt. LeBron James is the ultimate trump card. Advantage: Heat

2) BACKCOURT—A healthy Tony Parker is still one of the best point guards in the NBA and Danny Green is one of the better transition defenders. Dwyane Wade looks ultra-efficient in the playoffs and is the main reason the Heat have coasted in the playoffs. Heat guard Mario Chalmers has been a non-factor so far in the playoffs as the Heat have shifted rotations to match-up. Slight Advantage: Spurs


3) BENCH—The Spurs bench is one of the most productive in the league averaging 45.1 points or 43 percent of the team’s total scoring in the regular season. They have Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, and Boris Diaw–both starter-quality players – who come off the bench. It can be recalled that Diaw led the Spurs in scoring in Game 6 to win the series versus the Thunder. The Heat in contrast rely heavily on their starters. Their only consistent bench players are Ray Allen and Chris Anderson. In a long series, the Spurs depth will matter. Advantage: Spurs

4) OFFENSE—Both teams boast of efficient offenses. The only difference here is that the Spurs are more fluid as they pass the ball more and use multiple picks while the Heat go with more simple pick-and-rolls with their athleticism. Advantage: Even

5) DEFENSE—Both are also among the best defensive teams in the league. Individually, the Heat are more versatile and have better perimeter defenders to shutdown the Spurs’ 3-point shot. As to team defense, the Spurs have an edge since they always clog the point and force bad jumpers. Slight Advantage: Spurs

6) COACHING—Gregg Popovich is the best active coach in the league and one of the greatest ever. I mean which coach has 17 winning consecutive seasons and 4 NBA championships? “Pop” is also the master of the match-up and the gut plays. Filipino-American Erik Spoelstra is no greenhorn and is analytical as they come. He has 3 NBA titles under his belt (1 as an assistant coach in 2006). Still, experience will always trump over youth. Advantage: Spurs

7) INTANGIBLES—Unlike last year, the Spurs have the homecourt advantage and this will be a major factor since both teams rarely lose at home. The Spurs have also played and beaten better teams than the Heat, which means they are a little sharper. Their chemistry is at an all-time high. The Heat, meanwhile, have a healthy Big 3 and they look fresher. Slight advantage: Spurs

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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