The Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs will collide once again. This is the rematch of last season’s NBA finals wherein the Heat took home the crown after winning the battle with the Spurs at their game 7.
Let’s take a good look at their matchup and see who got the slight advantage.
The Miami Heat holds the slight advantage when it comes to the starting five of each team. Tony Parker is evidently better than Mario Chalmers and he has the edge at the point guard matchup. However, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are so much better than their matchups at their respective positions that make the overall balance lean on Miami’s side. Chris Bosh and Tim Duncan have an almost identical essence to their respective teams. Of course, Duncan is a much more complete player than Bosh and he is better at the power forward spot. Nonetheless, Bosh has proven that he can be a factor for the Heat when the team truly needs him. Tiago Splitter and whoever the fifth member of Miami’s starting five will be counterbalance each other. In overall, thanks to the presence of Wade and James the Heat have the upper hand when it comes to starting lineups.
The battle of the reserves is really interesting. The Heat’s bench was a huge factor during the 2013 NBA Finals. Ray Allen was the one who hit a season – saving three pointer in Game 6 thus flipping Miami’s switch. The Heat went on to win the championship after gaining a huge momentum boost out of that victory. On the other hand, the Spurs depend on the plurality of their weapons, on both ends of the floor. Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli have all been contributing with consistency in Gregg Popovich’s rotations. It remains to be seen if Miami’s aged veterans, like Shane Battier, Ray Allen and even Chris Andersen have enough fuel left in their basketball tank to top the Spurs’ bench. From a first glimpse, San Antonio seems to hold the advantage.
There is little doubt about who is the more experienced and widely respected head coach out of the pair of Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra. On the one hand, we have a veteran coach who has been on the wheel of the Spurs for almost two decades and has won four championships. On the other side, we have a much younger and much less experienced coach, who however, has helped the Heat win two championships. Coach Pop wins the race here but things could easily turn the other way around in this chess battle.
The San Antonio Spurs have been playing the best basketball in the NBA this season, there is no doubt about that. But the Miami Heat are the defending champions, they have the best player in the world playing the best basketball of his career onboard and they also have slightly less pressure on their side. So, in overall, the Miami Heat are the ones who will enter this NBA Finals series as the favorites, even if their margin against the Spurs is tiny.