The Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers in a dominating Game 7 performance on Monday and clinched a trip to the 2013 NBA Finals to play the San Antonio Spurs. Will the Heat accomplish their quest to repeat as NBA champions or will the Spurs stifle the Heat’s run?
Miami escaped a tough series against the upstart Indiana Pacers, where the Pacers neutralized Miami’s well-publicized “Big Three” for the first six games of the series and it looked as if Indiana would pull the shocking upset.
However, it was not to be as Dwayne Wade rebounded in Game 7, ending his much-maligned play while leading Miami to the victory along with LeBron James.
Chris Bosh also ended his struggles in Game 7, as he outmuscled Pacers center Roy Hibbert throughout the contest.
Now that the Heat have put the Pacers in their rearview mirror, Miami will shift their focus to San Antonio, as they continue on their road to a repeat.
The Spurs pose a very tough matchup for the Heat, as San Antonio is playing their best basketball since 2007, when the Spurs won their last championship.
Miami will not be able to match up with San Antonio from a physical standpoint, so the Heat should look to increase the tempo and make it into a run-and-gun series in order to maximize their chances.
From a matchup standpoint, Tony Parker holds the dominant edge over Heat point guard Mario Chalmers. As for shooting guard Danny Green, he has made a name for himself in this year’s playoffs, particularly against the Golden State Warriors. Green may be able to slow down Dwayne Wade with his defensive prowess and he provides a consistent three-point threat for San Antonio. LeBron James has the edge over the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, and that matchup will be similar to James vs. Paul George in the Heat-Pacers series, as Leonard has dramatically improved his shooting since entering the NBA.
Tim Duncan will have the advantage over Udonis Haslem, and although Haslem is great defensively, Duncan still has the edge with his vast arsenal of post moves.
If Bosh continues to turn his play around, he will have the edge over San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter, as Bosh should be able to take advantage of Splitter’s lackluster perimeter defense.
Ultimately though, the main difference maker in this series will be the pace of play. If the Heat are able to make it a fast paced Finals, Miami will have the advantage. If San Antonio makes it a grind it out series similar to the Pacers, then they will be able to make it a close series.
When it is all said and done, however, look for the Miami Heat to come out victorious in six games over the San Antonio Spurs and raise another banner in the American Airlines Arena.