The NBA Finals starts tomorrow night in Miami, where we are going to see the Miami Heat take on the San Antonio Spurs. The Sports Script gathered a few of the writers up and answered some questions regarding the series.
Who is the one guy for either team that needs to show up big in the Finals?
Matt Bell: The key player to me is going to be Tony Parker when healthy he could arguably be one of the best point guards. He averaged 25 ppg against the Grizzlies who defend the PG position well. If the Heat doesn’t figure out a way to stop him then it could be a Finals MVP for Parker.
Chad Woodroof: The one person that has to show up and dominate is LeBron James. Miami only goes as far as he does, as their other 2 “Superstars” have been anything but. He’s going to have to do just as much, if not more for the Heat as he did in the Indiana series.
Matt Wincherauk: For the Heat, it’s Chris Bosh. We know that LeBron is going to get his points, and so should Wade, but Bosh needs to produce to keep the defense honest. If he’s not making shots, or hesitant, then the Spurs will be free to collapse on LeBron and Wade, which is how the Heat’s offense works, slash and kick. Also Bosh needs to be a part of a team effort to slow down Duncan and the other Spurs big men.
For the Spurs, it’s Kawhi Leonard. Leonard will probably get LeBron duty for most of the series while on the floor and he needs to show off that potential of being one of the best athletic perimeter defenders.
Richard Valero: I believe the key to this series is the Heat’s bench. I think Bosh and Wade should bounce back and be better in this series. But the key is guys’ like Birdman, Allen, Battier and Miller coming off the bench and contributing to this team.
Who is the biggest sleeper in the series?
Matt Bell: It’s Kawhi Leonard for me as he’s probably going to be guarding LeBron the most for the Spurs. Kawhi is one of the least known players on the Spurs but gets around 35 minutes per game while averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds. He needs to do this while shutting down LeBron in the series for a huge edge to the Spurs.
Chad Woodroof: The biggest sleeper is Tiago Splitter. He has been huge for the San Antonio 5 of their last 4 games and has seemed to give them the jolt they need at the right times. I think if he plays like he has been of late, then Miami’s big men are going to be in for a long series.
Matt Wincherauk: I’m going to go with Danny Green and his three-point shooting for the Spurs. I think it’s important he finds his stroke early this series and can provide some timely scoring if Manu Ginobili cannot. Green’s shooting can help open things up in the lane for Tony Parker as well, as he’ll keep the defense from just collapsing on him.
Richard Valero: Mike Miller/Shane Battier, between these two they were hitting money shots left and right last playoffs. They have both been kind of quiet so far in the playoffs (minus last 2 games for Miller). But they could easily propel this team by coming in and hitting some big shots.
How much of an impact does the ’07 series have on this series for LeBron?
Matt Bell: LeBron seems to not care about the past to me, so I’m going with 0%.
Chad Woodroof: I personally feel for him it has no impact, but as a huge LBJ fan, it means everything to me that he goes out and gets revenge for the way ’07 ended. Unfortunately the Heat’s supporting cast has shown a glimpse of LeBron’s old Cavalier days and really needs to step up to help him exact his revenge!
Matt Wincherauk: None. This is a completely different LeBron James from six years ago, on a completely different team. The talent level in terms of his teams if pretty great, but I think the difference in LeBron’s mentality is even greater. LeBron doesn’t let things affect him, as much any more. Mentally he is much stronger than he was six years ago.
Richard Valero: I am not sure it has an impact on him but I think it’s in the back of his mind.
How important are Wade & Manu to each other’s teams?
Matt Bell: Wade has to average at a minimum 20 ppg or this series may only go 4. Miami is built around the big 3 and they need them all to take down the Spurs. Manu can carry the Spurs at times if he gets hot or even on defense. Each team will need these guys down the stretch, but Wade is the key for the Heat he has to play every game like he did in game 7.
Chad Woodroof: They are very important. As a matter of fact they are both the member of their Big 3 that seems to have slowed down and lost a step. In my opinion, whichever one of those 2 players plays better, will mean the difference in who is holding up the trophy.
Matt Wincherauk: Of course both are incredibly important to their teams, but I’d say that Wade is the more important to the Heat. Wade may be the second fiddle to LeBron James, but he’s still a superstar, and we saw how much the Heat struggled when Wade did. If he can’t provide secondary scoring, then the Heat are not winning a second straight championship. Ginobili is no doubt important, but if he struggles, the Spurs fantastic bench can replace his production.
Richard Valero: Wade is really important to this Heat squad and it showed in Game 7 against the Pacers. They need Wade or the Heat will be in trouble. Manu is the heart and soul of this team when he wants to be. I think he is a huge factor in this series and I agree with Chad and saying whichever of these two step up that team is going to take the series.
Who will win the series? And Why?
Matt Bell: Spurs, they are rested and come at you with several players for an entire game. They have an inside game to give the Heat trouble and Miami has too many flaws.
Chad Woodroof: I’m going to say the Miami Heat. I think that LeBron will come out with another MVP trophy as well, due to how he’ll kick it into a gear that’s greater than we have yet seen on a consistent basis. Be prepared to see a 50-point game out of him!
Matt Wincherauk: The Miami Heat will win this series in 6 Games and earn their second straight NBA Championship. As much as I love Tim Duncan and would like him win a 5th NBA Championship, solidifying himself as the greatest player of this generation, I can’t go against LeBron’s own greatness. I think Wade has a very Wade-like series, LeBron dominates, and I don’t think the Spurs can match those two’s production. The Heat will be your 2013 NBA Champions!
Richard Valero: This series is either going 6 or 7 games and the longer it goes the more I favor the Heat. But early on, the 2-3-2 format favors the Spurs and if they can steal one in Miami as well as take 2 of 3 at home, the Spurs walk away in 6. But I am going with the team that has the best player; give me the Heat in 7 games.