1. Who is the key player for the Heat?
Chad Woodroof: Chris Bosh. Normally I would say James or Wade, but Bosh needs to drop 15+ with 10 or more rebounds, and needs to play great D down low to stop Tim Duncan.
Matt Bell: No doubt about it, no headband LeBron is the key player. If that dude shows up, it’s over no question about it.
Matt Wincherauk: I’m going with Chris Bosh. Bosh had been lacking the entire regulation period, but his few key plays not only saved the Heat’s season, but also extended it one final game. With rebounds becoming rather scarce, outside of LeBron and “Birdman” Anderson, Bosh needs to be incredibly active on the glass, and keep Duncan as far away from the paint as possible. His defense was also stellar in the final few minutes, including a block on Parker and Green. If Bosh can hit his jump shot consistently, the Heat should be in for a good night.
Richard Valero: LeBron James. He hasn’t played 4 quarters of basketball the way he is capable of all series.
2. Who is the key player for the Spurs?
Woodroof: It’s hard to pick just one. Tony Parker needs to play a full 48-min game without tiring out and have limited turnovers. Danny Green needs to hit 3-point shots, like he has been throughout the series, to make the Heat have to guard the 3-point line as well as the paint.
Bell: Manu has to forget the game 6 performance and repeat his game 5 performance.
Wincherauk: I’ll take Danny Green. Green, up till last game, had been my Finals MVP. Raining threes, opening up the Heat defense, creating shots for his teammates. When the Heat locked down on him, he disappeared. Green is vital for the Spurs offense to work correctly. Without his ability, guys like Parker, Ginobili and Leonard will have trouble getting to the basket, if all the Heat is going to do is collapse.
Valero: It’s hard to just pick one of the guys, but I will go with Danny Green. He has to be able to find a way to get his shot. After having 5 really solid games, the Heat just took him out of game 6 all together.
3. Who needs to step up?
Woodroof: Manu Ginobili. Manu had 9 points with 8 turnovers last game. That wasn’t the sole reason San Antonio lost the game, but if the Spurs are going to take Game 7 on Miami’s home court, Manu is going to have to have a game like he did in Game 5.
Bell: Danny Green. If the Spurs pull off game 7, after all his shots in the first 5 games, I feel he will be the difference, if he can get open.
Wincherauk: Manu Ginobili. We saw the one game that he showed up to, Game 5, and the Spurs outright dominated the Heat. Ginobili is easily the streakiest player for the Spurs, but it can also make him the most dangerous. If he starts by getting a few easy baskets and mid-range jumpers down, then look out, we could see a classic Manu game. Also, enough with the flow killing threes at the top of the key, Pop will eventually kill him for those shots.
Valero: LeBron James. If he doesn’t step up and play the way we all know he can, the Heat has no shot at winning this game.
4. Who is the most important player for game 7?
Woodroof: LeBron James. No 1 player has a better scoring average in NBA history for elimination games than LBJ with his 31.5 average. He’s going to need to score 30. Ideally, Bosh should have 20 and Wade should have 25, but if those players come short of those numbers, LBJ is going to have to make it up in addition to his 30.
Bell: No question LeBron.
Wincherauk: LeBron James. It’s pretty simple to me. If LeBron can dominate, the Heat can win. If he’s unable to get those easy baskets in transition and in the half-court, the Heat will struggle. He got them back in the game last time, but if the Spurs can lock him down like they did in the first three quarters, then the Heat will be looking at another Finals loss.
Valero: Hate to sound repetitive but it has to be LeBron again. This is the biggest stage of them all; this is Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It’s time to put up or shut up. If he wants to be labeled as one of the best of All-Time he needs to step up and take this game over.
5. Who wins and why?
Woodroof: The Miami Heat. First, because of their home court advantage. Second, because San Antonio has given everything they’ve had the last few games, and I think they’re tired. They played an impeccable full 48 minutes in Game 5, and they played stellar for 36 minutes in Game 6. When it counted in the last 12 and the 5 of overtime though, their starts seemed to be pooped. I don’t think they have the energy to play at the level the Heat will be pumped up at by their home crowd.
Bell: I predicted Spurs in 6 and was 20 seconds from being right. Now I feel it’s the Heat who win at home in Game 7.
Wincherauk: I’ve got the Heat. Something has to click for this team. Eventually they will say to themselves, “Hey, we have Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LEBRON JAMES! Let’s go out and dominate!” It seems like what’s been holding the Heat back is not physical, but mental. Guys like LeBron and Bosh have been fragile in this series. I think this is finally the game where they really wake up and knock the Spurs out.
Valero: I’ve wavered back and forth because the obvious choice is the Heat but I don’t think the Spurs will lay down either. However, I do think the Spurs needed to win Game 6 to win the series, and they probably should’ve won the game. I think LeBron steps up to the plate and carries the Heat to back-to-back titles.