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Breaking down Heat-Spurs by position and who has the edge

SMALL FORWARD

Spurs: Kawhi Leonard -- a versatile, athletic wing player who can defend, shoot and blends in seamlessly with the Spurs’ stars – displayed impressive growth during the regular season (11.9 points, 49.4 percent shooting) and has been even better in the playoffs (13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 56.5 percent shooting) while averaging 37 minutes --- about six more than the regular season. He served up 17 points, 11 rebounds and 2 steals in his one game against the Heat, albeit without LeBron James playing that night.

Heat: James has authored a magnificent postseason, even more impressive considering he has needed to compensate for a diminished Dwyane Wade and a slumping Chris Bosh through part of this run. He leads the Heat in scoring (26.2), rebounds (7.3) and assists (6.4) while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 38.7 on threes. He embraced defending bulkier David West during fourth-quarter stretches of the Eastern finals and likely will be needed to guard one of the Spurs’ big men at times when the Heat goes small. And he also might draw the assignment on Tony Parker for short bursts.

Edge: Heat

 

POWER FORWARD

Spurs: Evan at 37, future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan continues to perform at an All-Star level. He’s averaging 17.8 points in the playoffs – equaling his regular season average, though his shooting percentage has dropped from 50.2 to 46.1. His rebounding is down very slightly from the regular season (9.9 to 9.2), but that’s much higher than any Heat power rotation player. Duncan delivered 17 points and 12 rebounds in his one game against the Heat but missed a late jumper over Udonis Haslem’s outstretched arms. The Heat hopes to draw him away from the basket, but Bosh or Haslem will need to be swishing jump shots for that strategy to be fully effective.

Heat: With 8 for 9 shooting performances in Games 3 and 5, Udonis Haslem was as responsible as anybody (excluding James) for two of the Heat’s wins against Indiana. His points are up from the regular season (to 6.3) and rebounds down (3.9) while playing about six minutes more per game. Haslem has had some success defending Duncan and should draw the assignment at least part of the time. While Duncan is a more polished offensive player than Roy Hibbert, Duncan is also three inches shorter, leaving Haslem at a three-inch deficit.

Edge: Spurs

 

CENTER

Spurs: Tiago Splitter has developed into a capable starter – a pretty good passer and decent rebounder with touch around the basket, especially with his right jump hook, and the mobility to chase Bosh to the perimeter. His numbers have declined from the regular season in points (10.3 to 6.8) and rebounds (6.4 to 3.7). But he’s shooting 58.2 percent in the playoffs, even better than his 56 percent in the regular season. Some of those baskets come on put-backs, so the Heat must keep him off the offensive boards --- something it didn’t do effectively against Indiana’s Roy Hibbert.

Heat: Chris Bosh had a dreadful Eastern Conference Finals (11.0 points, 4.3 rebounds) and ended it with four consecutive games with single digit scoring. But Indiana was also the worst possible matchup for him. Defending Splitter will take less of a toll that guarding Hibbert or David West, and rebounds should come easier, too. And though neither Duncan nor Tony Parker played, Bosh was terrific in his one game against the Spurs this season, hitting the game-winning three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left and closing with 23 points and 9 rebounds.

Edge: Heat

 

POINT GUARD

Spurs: Tony Parker comes off a 37-point masterpiece (15 for 21 shooting) in the close-out win against Memphis. He’s averaging 23 points in postseason, more than he did in the playoffs on the three championship teams he was a part of. His floor game has been very good (7.2 points, 2.7 assists). Even with his Game 4 in the Memphis series, his shooting percentage has dipped in postseason to 47.5, still very good but below his unworldly 52.2 percent in the regular season, which easily led NBA point guards. It’s impossible to envision the Heat stopping him, though James (in doses) and Norris Cole figure to be impediments at times. Mario Chalmers will challenge Parker defensively if he mixes in drives to the basket with his standstill threes, as he did in the Pacers series.  

Heat: Chalmers and Cole haven’t always played well at the same time in postseason, but usually, at least one has given the Heat very good minutes. Cole was a major factor in the Bulls series and late in the Pacers series. Chalmers had some very good moments against Indiana. Chalmers has played the steadier floor game in postseason (56 assists, 20 turnovers) compared with Cole’s 30 and 18. Cole is shooting at a higher percentage: 53.8 to 43.1. Chalmers man-to-man defense has improved, but Cole’s is superior, and will be needed for stretches against Parker.

Edge: Spurs

 

SHOOTING GUARD

Spurs: Danny Green has evolved into a capable starter, allowing Manu Ginobili to continue to come off the bench. He’s averaging 9.6 points and shot 43.1 percent on threes in postseason (28 for 65) after shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc during the season. He can rebound (4.1 playoff average) and has quickness defensively (1.2 steals average), but he must make shots to justify staying on the floor for long stretches.

Heat: We can all accept that Wade --- weakened by his right knee troubles - will not be the vintage version. But to win this series, he must be at least somewhat more than the player who averaged 14.1 points and shot 44.7 in postseason and failed to reach 20 points in 12 games in a row before Monday. His explosiveness comes only in short bursts now and his mid-range game has been spotty, but his Game 7 effort against Indiana (21 points, 9 rebounds) raises hopes that Wade can offer more than his previous string of pedestrian performances. And while Ginobili creates challenges with driving ability, defending Green – mostly a three-point shooter – shouldn’t be too taxing.

Edge: Heat

 

BENCH

Spurs: A pretty deep group, led by Ginobili, who hasn’t had an exceptional postseason by his standards (11.5 points, 38.3 percent shooting, 2.4 turnovers, 5.4 assists) but is the best bench player the Heat will face this postseason. Ginobili will be eager to rebound from one of his worst playoff games ever (six turnovers, 1 for 6 shooting in the close-out win against Memphis). Boris Diaw, 6-8, isn’t a big rebounder (2.5), but has the athleticism and versatility to effectively chase Bosh to the perimeter. Matt Bonner remains one of the NBA’s best-shooting big men and 14 for 28 on threes this postseason. Backup guards Cory Joseph (3.4 points, 46.8 percent shooting in postseason) and Gary Neal (5.5 points) are serviceable, but Neal has struggled with his shot this postseason (just 9 for 36 on threes).

Heat: Chris Andersen has been the Heat’s most consistent bench contributor, making 38 of 46 shots and averaging 4.1 rebounds. But his individual defense was shaky against Roy Hibbert, and he could be vulnerable in stretches against Duncan. Ray Allen’s Game 7 (3 for 5 on threes) suggests he may have snapped out of his shooting slump. Cole should get significant minutes, largely because of his defense on Parker. The unresolved issue is whether Erik Spoelstra returns to Shane Battier, who was benched in Game 7 and is shooting 15 for 66 in postseason, or stays with Mike Miller for a third game in a row.

Edge: Even

 

COACH

Spurs: No active NBA coach has a resume comparable to Gregg Popovich, with his four championships in four appearances and 68.1 regular-season winning percentage. He knows how to push and prod his team, but also when to pull back, and he commands as much or more respect from players as any coach in the league. His lineup decisions have paid dividends this season, including starting Splitter ahead of DuJuan Blair (who has played sparingly in postseason) and using Green as a starter, allowing Ginobili to come off the bench. The Spurs excel at player development, and Popovich is a big reason.

Heat: Erik Spoelstra made sensible moves in Game 7 of the Pacers series, opting for frequent double teams in the post and off pick and rolls. “His even keeled demeanor and humility helps him get the most of his best players,” ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy said. “Erik is still in the phase where he gets blame for their losses than credit for their wins, but he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame.” (And, as Van Gundy said, Popovich is headed there, too.)

Edge: Spurs

 

INTANGIBLES

Spurs: The Spurs come in rested – and perhaps a bit rusty – and unlike the Heat, haven’t had to deal with extreme adversity in these playoffs, having never trailed in a series this spring. This is a confident, savvy battle-tested group that commits fewer turnovers than the Pacers (17th in the league, to Indiana 26th) and possesses the outside shooters to make the Heat pay if Miami doubles Duncan or traps Parker. Consider the Spurs were second in field goal percentage (behind only the Heat) --- while Indiana was 26th -- and ranked fourth in scoring (the Pacers were 23rd). Parker poses problems unlike any guard the Heat has faced this postseason. And Duncan has never lost in any of his four Finals appearances.

Heat: What Monday proved, yet again, is the Heat --- since the 2011 Finals loss to Dallas - can summon every last ounce of energy and intensity and maniacal defensive zeal when faced with an elimination game. The Heat hasn’t lost consecutive games since Jan. 8 and 10, and the rebounding issue should be less problematic against the Spurs. Indiana was the league’s best rebounding team in the regular season; the Spurs were 21st. Dwyane Wade’s Game 7 against Indiana offered encouragement that even if he’s not himself, he won’t necessarily be a shell of himself in this series.

Edge: Even

 

PICK: HEAT IN SEVEN

Comments

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# 1 GATORS AND S.E.C.

LIKE THE GATORS AND SEC ... FIRST !!!

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CANES FOOTBALL A RISING DARKHORSE FOR NATIONALTITLE ?

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REALITY CHECK TIME []_[] Del[]_[]sional Cane Fans...

[]_[]r ODDS are what they are because the ACC SUCKS with just ONE RANKED TEAM in FSU which makes it easier for []_[] unlike the MIGHTY SEC where SEVEN TEAMS ARE RANKED... ie- SEC ='s SUPER SPEEDWAY ... ACC ='s DIRT ROAD.

OK Cane Fans... I know []_[]r ALL Charged []_[]p and popping off about 10-Win, Undefeated, Coastal, ACC Championship Seasons in 2013... We get it... It's what []_[] do and Del[]_[]sionally have done over the last 10 Summers for a Decade now in []_[]r little Cane B[]_[]bble...

Now find me ONE Reputable Pre-Season Top-25 List that []_[]r even Ranked in... Just one. Heck, I'll even take, "recieving votes" and then []_[] can spo[]_[]t off how []_[] "Ranked" # 37th or something...

[]_[]ntil then, here's []_[]r reality, lack of []_[]r Relevance dosage for the day... Sports Illustrated/AP 2013 College Football Top-25 is out... I'll spare []_[] the Top-25, []_[] know who they are, and go straight waaaaayyy down the page to, "Also Recieving Votes"...

So here []_[] go... http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/ncaa/polls/

Also Recieving Votes...Baylor95, Penn State90, Cincinnati78, Oklahoma State42, Tulsa34, UCLA31, Arkansas State28, TCU9, UCF9, Wisconsin6, North Dakota State1 ... NO []_[]

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[]_[] see where []_[] are in the eyes of intelligent people outside []_[]r little brainwashed Cane Thang b[]_[]bble ? Hey, don't feel to bad, look on the bright side tho[]_[]gh... []_[]r only 1 Vote behind North Dakota State.

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Latest Coaches Top-25... But what do Coaches know Riiiett ?

Others Receiving Votes: Michigan101, UCLA75, Baylor52, Oklahoma State36, Wisconsin18, UCF15, Arkansas State13, Arizona State10, Rutgers9, Kent State5, Louisiana Tech2, Ohio1, Arizona1 ... NO []_[]

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b[]_[]t []_[]r BACK Riiieeeet ?

Get a life loser

No, no, this is about the Miami Heat, not the Miami Hurricanes.

Is this really what you do with your spare time?

U more rings than Gayturds

You are a looser....

Georgia Cane

Barry, you forgot one thing. West coast teams don't play defense. I have the Heat in 6. It will depend on the Heat's ability to hit 3's. Spur's will give up 3's because they don't have anybody that could match up with the MVP. Bosch should do better, but in the end it's all about the 3's

Get []_[] P.E.D.'s ... Step Right []_[]p...

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM !!!!

A-ROD "Field", []_[]r Cane Beisbol Poster Boy "I did nothing wrong" Ryan Bra[]_[]n and M[]_[]LTIPLE Former and Recent Canes as of 2008 Implicated by Columb[]_[]s Grad and Coral Gables PED Candyman Tony Bosch !!! Bosch agrees to testify in Court revealing "HUNDREDS" of former clients... Including atleast 3 Dozen Former and recent Canes from 1998-2008 are to be pinched...

B[]_[][]_[][]_[][]_[][]_[][]_[]sted !!!

Nothing to see here right Cane Cl[]_[]cks and just more TMZ BS right Corch Goldy ?

Now []_[] know why the NCAA has been waiting... The HAMMER IS COMING !

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Well one things for sure... None of []_[]r current weakazzzed Baseball and Football Players are []_[]sing. So []_[] gots dat going for []_[].

Q[]_[]e ?  ...   Sez Yasmani Grandal and Allllll Those Other Cane Cheaters

"This will be the biggest, most widespread multiple Sports Performance-Enhancing Drug Scandal in American Sports History by far...

Senior ESPN Source


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Ahhhhhhh, Coral Gables... The City Bea[]_[]tif[]_[]l PED Capital of the Entire Sports World...


Keepin it real always

Why does this Cane closet lover keep trolling about HIS opinion of the Canes?HE knows no Cane fan gives a rat s --- what he thinks of sports.He s just a lonely,unloved troll with nothing going on in his life of note.Otherwise...he d occassionally tend to living a real life at lest sporadically.Instead he spends his time clogging the Universe with negativity and lack of intelligence.What a tool.Too funny.

Iz []_[]h Cang Fang Mang ...

Iz innecentz untelz j[]_[][]_[]zzz prooofz mez g[]_[]ltie ...

boe

Hey Turd get a life! The Canes will be ranked sept.8 after beating the turds. We aint worried about it. You turd fans sure do like reading about the canes.
Heat in 6

Hank

Danny green will outplay wade, and the Spurs bench is way better than the Heats. I think Splitter will gave Bosch fits, and the Heat have nobody to stop Parker! Spurs in 6

elisa191

Hank,

Danny Green may out score wade a few times but outplay? There is a reason wade is on the floor even when hes not hitting his shoot its call Defense. Something few Spurs fans have seen from their - Just outscore the other team - Spurs.

In the West I can see how that can work but not against a great defensive team. They will have to get their points the HARD way so don't expect Green to be flying all over the lane and getting easy step backs - not against wade

Chomp this Chump

[]_[] has Cane fantasies. Any fan would be called fanatical if they had his passion for their OWN team. His passion and venom for the U reflect deep seeded issues

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