By Stefan Anderson and Jazmine August
With the NBA Finals set to take place on Thursday, there are so questions to be asked about the heated rematch between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. Jazmine August and Stefan Anderson team up to play a 5 on 5, discussing different scenarios for the series and give their own predictions.
1.Will the Spurs use the same defensive strategy to go under screens and let the heat shoot jumpers?
SA: Of course when you play the Heat you should to protect the basket with Miami’s slashing style of offense, but with Chris Bosh stepping out and becoming somewhat of a 3pt threat, shooting nearly 2 a game and hit them at 41 percent, the floor is spaced even more. The Spurs also Boris Diaw who can step out and guard the perimeter but it will certainly cause distraction for Tim Duncan. With that being said they should do that until Miami shoots them out of that defensive mindset.
JA: If the San Antonio Spurs know what is good for them they won’t use this defensive strategy. Veteran players play best in the high pressure, “do or die” moments of the game and the Miami Heat have a few of those. Expect Ray Allen & Shane Battier 3 pt percentage to increase in this series. Remember last year Finals Game 6? I don’t think I have to say anymore.
2. Without Mike Miller and savvy vets like Shane Battier not being effective in these playoffs does Miami have enough shooting?
SA: The Heat are shooting a playoff best 40 percent from the 3, only better than ironically San Antonio. So yes, but the shooters they have, have to step up and support James and the Big 3. They have Ray Allen still but if player like Shane Battier, Rashad Lewis and Norris Cole stay consistent along with Bosh can give enough space and help Lebron do what Lebron does best attack the basket.
JA: A veteran role player like Mike Miller was a piece of the “heart” of the team and came up clutch with 5 3 pointers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals 2012 that lead to Lebron James elusive first title. Losing Mike Miller in the off-season was a loss to the Miami Heat but like I previously stated the Heat wing players will step up and show out on the NBA’s biggest stage and this includes Shane Battier. Expect Rashard Lewis to play more minutes as well.
3. Can the Spurs still compete with the Heat if Tony Parker is not 100 percent?
SA: I do not believe that Spurs can compete with Miami if they do not have Tony Parker at 100. You can sense the difference in last year’s series when Parker was guarded by Lebron and taken out of the game; his impact is needed for the Spurs to conquer another title. Maybe at 80 percent they can compete but anything less they will hand Miami the 3 peat.
JA: Yes they can and yes they will. Although Tony Parker is arguably the best point guard in the league, the Spurs may have the deepest bench. Under the leadership of a veteran like Tim Duncan, explosiveness of the young stud Kawhi Leornard, an arsenal of shooters like Manu Ginobli and Danny Green and role players like Patty Mills and Boris Diaw that can and will give quality minutes, they can most definitely compete without Parker. Not to mention, Greg Popovich is their coach.
4. Should Coach Popovich think about putting Kawhi Leonard on Wade instead of Lebron?
SA:No, I think that Kawhi Leonard is the one of the best defensive players we have in this league and is the only answer the Spurs have to slow down James ,who is set to have a legendary series in my opinion. Danny Green is a good enough defender for Wade and will give him enough trouble running around screens and knocking down 3 pointers.
JA: That may be a possibility but I don’t know how much of a difference that will make. There is no one in the league that lock James up defensively for four quarters. He’s just too big, too strong and too great. Switching Leonard to Wade would free Lebron James to explode offensively. Either way, James and Wade both win the matchup against Leonard.
5. Who’s bench players will have a bigger impact in this series Heat or Spurs?
SA: Spurs bench solely because Manu Ginobli, they also have a better bench than Miami and go a lot deeper than Miami’s bench would. Mills, Ginobli, Splitter, Belinelli all can give valuable minutes in Pop’s system. Although Miami’s Bench, (Cole, Allen, Birdman and maybe Lewis) need to be more effective to hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy.
JA: The Miami Heat fanatic in me wants to say that the Heat bench will have a bigger impact than the Spurs bench but the analyst in me trumps that and says the Spurs will. Their bench is just too deep it’s as simple as that.
SA:Spurs in 7, I believe the home crowd will propel them in what should be interesting series to say the least. Duncan and Ginobli’s willpower to conclude their careers winning will lead them in the path to glory and give Duncan his 5th ring and cement the argument of Best Power Forward Ever.
JA: Spurs will desperately try to avenge the devastating loss of the 2013 Finals but in the end the Miami Heat will prevail in a thrilling Game 7 and be the first team to three-peat since the Kobe/Shaq Lakers. Heat in 7.