Here’s the truth of the matter…the Miami Heat have been playing terribly lately. On a West coast road trip they dropped three losses in a row and lost Dwayne Wade in the process. Chris Bosh also told GQ magazine that in a tied game in closing seconds he would give the ball to Wade over James…not good for team chemistry. And, while watching the Denver/Miami game, I could not help but notice how lethargic and emotionless LeBron James was as he walked to the bench and even in his playing style. They won’t have played a game since Friday when they match up at home against the Spurs. But, here is why I think the Spurs will be able to control the Heat and even beat them…
1. The Heat can’t close out games: Repeatedly this season, as they struggled with last year, the Heat play good offense/defense for 42-44 minutes of the game, and in the closing minutes/seconds they are unable to be effective from the field or stop their opponents. Sure, they are first in the league in points per game, but when they are unable to score down the stretch, everything else is irrelevant. San Antonio can play strong defense; they allow only 95 points per game. As far as closers, the Spurs know who the ball will go to with Wade out; LeBron, if he’s open, or Chris Bosh in a worst-case scenario. Other than that, there is not much surprise on who will be touching the ball with the last shot. Tim Duncan is going to be in the middle to play defense and Matt Bonner might also be inside to grab a rebound to eliminate the chance of Miami grabbing an offensive rebound
2. The Spurs have a deeper team: When you look at the two teams rosters, there is not a big shock factor. Yes, Miami has the “big three.” But Wade is out, which puts more pressure on James and Bosh. The Spurs are missing Ginobili but offer a solid team otherwise. I like the Spurs’ roster better; I like Ginobili/Tony Parker/Gary Neal more in the point guard category rather than Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers. And the center position? Okay, Timmy D isn’t playing his best basketball but he’s still a great player that can score at will if he turns it on. Joel Anthony/Eddy Curry/whatever other “center” Miami has is NO match for Duncan in the middle. Plus, the Spurs also have Bonner at the power forward position. I like Richard Jefferson over Shane Battier at the small forward position as well. After Ginobili gets healthy the Spurs will be an even deeper team. Sure, they don’t have three players with the ability to comfortably close a game out in the final seconds, but overall the provide more bite.
3. Experience: The Spurs are not a young team; Duncan is 35, Ginobili 34, Richard Jefferson 31. The Heat have five players in their 30′s and the Spurs have four…but the Spurs players have the experience needed to be successful in the league. Tim Duncan has played in 176 playoff games…Ginobili in 122 and Tony Parker in 138. Comparatively, LeBron James has played in 92…Chris Bosh in 32 and Dwayne Wade in 87. The experience in playing in NBA Finals and Championship games is exponentially greater on the Spurs side. When it comes down to it, in a finals game, it is not about who scores the most points; its who can remain calm under pressure and deliver those points when needed.
I don’t like the Heat. I don’t like the media coverage/worshiping of the team nor do I like that the Heat arranged for three superstars to play with each other. I think the game on Tuesday will be a good matchup; both teams will be in the playoffs and it will be interesting to see how the Spurs respond to Wade being out of the lineup. Any opinion on the matchup?
About the Author
Written by Chelsea Curto
Chelsea is a college senior who is majoring in art history and minoring in communications. She plans to become a sports broadcaster. She is a former Division 1 athlete who rowed for a year and a half in college. She enjoys any and all sports, especially basketball. She plans to pursue her education in communication at the graduate school level. Follow her on Twitter: @chelseacurto