The 2013 NBA Finals are set with the Miami Heat looking to defend their title against the San Antonio Spurs. Miami made their way to the Finals after winning an easy Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers, in an otherwise grueling series. The Spurs have been resting for well over a week after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies.
Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals starts tonight, and most experts are picking Miami to top an aging San Antonio team. This is especially the case when you consider how the Heat are opening at home. Here’s a quick look at the betting line provided by GTBets.eu:
San Antonio (-110) Over 188.5 (-110)
Miami Heat -5 (-110) Under 188.5 (-110)
As you can see, Miami is being spotted 5 points in this line. Of course, San Antonio is an experienced bunch and should not only make Game 1 close, but also play well throughout the series. Seeing as how this figures to be such an interesting matchup, let’s take a quick look at what both teams need to do to emerge victorious.
San Antonio Spurs’ Keys to Victory
1. Overcome the Heat’s Athleticism with Perfect Execution – When it comes to the key players in the series, Miami has a definite advantage in youth and athleticism. However, the Spurs are masters of offensive execution and move the ball better than any team in the league. They’ll need to continue this against the Heat and force them to play defense.
2. Shake off the Rust from the Layoff – San Antonio hasn’t played a basketball game since May 27th. That said, it’s easy to see them opening Game 1 with plenty of rust, which will hamper the perfect execution we just discussed. So the Spurs will really need to be focused mentally in the early going to avoid ugly turnovers and bad shots.
3. Exploit the Obvious Mismatch Tony Parker offers – While Mario Chalmers is a solid point guard, he’s up against the league’s top PG in Tony Parker. San Antonio will rely heavily on the Frenchman to give them a huge boost in this series.
4. Kawhi Leonard must slow LeBron James down – Two years ago, the Spurs traded popular PG George Hill for a draft pick that they used on Kawhi Leonard. The idea was that the athletic Leonard could eventually guard superstars like LeBron. Now it’s time to see if perception meets reality as Leonard hopes to at least slow James down for a couple games.
5. Manu Ginobili needs to find Something Extra – For years, Manu Ginobili has provided the Spurs with lots of offensive firepower. However, he’s definitely slowed down this season, which has been evident from the first two playoff rounds. But if San Antonio is to seriously contend with the Heat, they’re going to need everything they can get out of the Argentinean.
Miami Heat’s Keys to Victory
1. Overwhelm the Spurs with Athleticism – It’s no secret that Miami has the more athletic team from an all-around perspective. And they need to use this athleticism to create turnovers and force San Antonio into bad shots. Miami should definitely watch some footage from last year’s Western Conference Finals, when the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the Spurs.
2. Make This the Big 3 Again – LeBron James may be the best basketball player in the world; however, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are supposed to be pretty good themselves. Unfortunately, Wade and Bosh were very inconsistent against the Pacers – something which nearly cost them the series. These two need to combine with James to get the Big 3 back on track.
3. Ray Allen has to hit Shots – Wade and Bosh weren’t the only ones struggling against Indiana. Ray Allen has also had a tough time draining shots and, at times, couldn’t hit anything during the Pacers series. Luckily, the Spurs don’t defend the corners quite as well as Indiana, which could free Allen up for some open 3’s.
4. Defend the Rim – Miami features solid shot blockers in Bosh (1.36 BPG) and Chris “Birdman” Anderson (1.27 BPG). However, this is about all the Heat have to defend the rim against a San Antonio squad that’ll feature Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter inside. Plus Parker and Ginobili will be cutting into the lane frequently and scoring at the hoop. So the Heat are going to need a team effort to protect the rim.
5. Contain Tony Parker – Miami doesn’t really figure to shut down either Duncan or Parker. But they can’t allow Parker to get comfortable and control the game tempo. A huge battle here will be the Heat’s pressure defense against Parker’s incredible ability to split traps.
Both clubs have their strong points and will be looking to impose these during this year’s NBA Finals. Miami is more talented, but San Antonio is fresher and features two future Hall-of-Famers in Parker and Duncan. That said, this should definitely be an entertaining series!