NBA Finals preview

The NBA finals are finally upon us, the best time of the year for all basketball fans, this will certainly be a series for the ages.

The powerhouse matchup between two proven teams, the defending champion, Miami Heat in its third straight Finals out of the Eastern Conference, and the aging San Antonio Spurs who will look to cement themselves in NBA history by winning their fourth title in the last ten years.

The Heat led by the best player in the world, LeBron James will take down the Spurs led by the greatest power forward ever, Tim Duncan in seven games. Here’s why:

Miami Defense

The Spurs will be able to create enough offensive opportunities to force this series to go seven, but as we saw against the Pacers the heat can ratchet up their defense and intensity when needed.

After the Pacers forced a game seven, Miami was lying in the wake of a 28 point performance by Indiana’s Paul George, and a dominant 24 and 11 performance by Roy Hibbert. A certain disappointment coming from what most thought to be one the best defensive teams in the NBA, heading into the playoffs.

The Heat responded in game seven by switching James from Lance Stephenson to George, and quickly doubling Hibbert every time he caught the ball in the post.

The new defensive plan worked, Hibbert scored only 18 and committed 3 costly turnovers, and George scored seven, George fouled out with seven minutes left, as he was shut down by James. As a team the Heat forced 15 turnovers in the first half and nine in the first quarter.

The Heat can flip the switch when they need too; I expect them to switch James onto Tony Parker in key moments to shut him down. Don’t be surprised if the Heat attempt to get the ball out of Parkers hands, which may leave the Heat vulnerable to Tim Duncan open in the post.

They will also need to guard the three against a very dangerous three pointing squad, this will be crucial for the Heat if they are going to take control of the series.

LeBron James v Tony Parker

The most intriguing matchup of the Finals this year is between two top tear players: LeBron James and Tony Parker.

Although parker won’t be guarding James- that will be Kawhi Leonard’s responsibility- it is almost inevitable that James will guard Parker in crunch time. The reason this matchup is so intriguing is the offensive firepower and versatility that Parker and James bring to the table.

Parker can slash to the basket, and run the pick and roll with the best of them, but has recently developed a pull up jump shot that has given the defense headaches. Parker has also developed as a passer since he first entered the league; he is averaging 23 points and 7.2 assists per game in the playoffs.

The MVP, James is also tough for the defense to handle. In my opinion James is the most versatile player of all time.

He has the upper hand down low on the quicker, but weaker Leonard. As we saw in game three against Indiana, James can take smaller defenders down low, as he did with Paul George, but can also make a terrific pass if double teamed because he can see over the defense.

Since James entered the league in 2004, he has been one the best attackers in the game, but in the past few years James has developed his jump shot, which has kept the defense honest on the perimeter.

Parker and James will almost certainly be in scoring duels throughout the game and especially in the fourth quarter, but James versatility on the offensive and defensive end will give the Heat the advantage in this matchup.

Rebounding

This is one area where the Spurs will have a serious advantage, with Duncan and Thiago Splitter on the interior; they will matchup with Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh.

It’s as simple as this: If the Heat can at least keep the rebounding differential at a reasonable margin with help from Chris “Birdman” Anderson that would be a victory for them.