- Created on Friday, 29 March 2013 02:39
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by David Rountree
The Miami Heat are playing phenomenal basketball as of late, they are destroying opponents at a surprisingly efficient rate. They are proving that they are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Their fast break offense is fueled by the stringent defense that they employ. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are proving to be an historic tandem on both ends of the floor, and not many teams have an answer for them—except the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs don’t have the star power to beat the Miami Heat, but they do have a team orientated system that could challenge the defending champs. The Heat depend heavily on their three stars Bosh/Wade/James to perform, while the Spurs have a more balanced attack. A match-up in the Finals between these two teams would be interesting because of these differing concepts. The Spurs trio of Parker/Ginobili/Duncan has already etched their names into the record books with multiple championships, the Heat are trying to become like them.
So what is it about the Spurs that would give the defending champion Miami Heat trouble in the playoffs?
-It is easy to forget that the Miami Heat team is small and can be easily hurt in the paint by bigger teams. The team is statistically dead last in the NBA when it comes to rebounding the basketball. For this team strong post players will be their Achilles heel.
-The Spurs have arguably one of the best post players of all-time in Tim Duncan, who is having a throwback season (17ppg 10rpg). Then the emergence of the Spurs starting center Tiago Splitter (11 ppg and 6 rpg) gives the Heat another 7-footer to worry about in the paint; especially after considering that LeBron James at the small forward position is the team’s leading rebounder.
-The Spurs have a major advantage at the point guard position and Tony Parker is truly the head of the Spurs’ offense. Parker’s penetration in the paint opens up space for the Spurs’ deadly three-point shooters. The Spurs have a plethora of perimeter players that are shooting close to 40% from the three-point line, making them one of the top teams in three-point percentage in the league.
-Also Parker himself can score in the mid-range area of the court, so he doesn’t have to rely on meeting the Heat’s big men at the basket. The Heat’s Mario Chalmers cannot guard Parker in a one on one situation, so they will likely depend on LeBron James to defend him at the end of games. This is a risky move because you are taking your leading rebounder away from the basket.
-The Spurs have one of the most unique and powerful offenses in the NBA. They are currently fourth in the league in scoring at 104 ppg (right above the Miami Heat), and are number one in the league in assists at 25 a game. Ball movement is a defensive team’s nightmare because it makes their job that much harder. For the Miami Heat it will stretch their shorter rotation to their limits, because they do not have the depth at each position that the Spurs have.
-In the playoffs, games are usually shifted by adjustments from the coaching staff and the Spurs have the superior coach. Coach Gregg Popovich is currently the reigning “Coach of the Year” and has 900 NBA wins under his belt. The Heat’s Coach Spoelstra (who has less than 300 wins) has definitely improved as a coach this year but he hasn’t been up against a coach of Popovich’s credentials.