Close Article Return to stream X
NBA

Kawhi Leonard’s Absence Will Help Lead Miami Heat To Victory

+Read full article

Derick Hingle- USA Today Sports

The Miami Heat are set to take on the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena, the same place where the infamous Game 6 took place in which Ray Allen essentially stole the Finals back for the Heat. Both teams are struggling with injuries and stability heading into the second half of the regular season, but the recent loss of Kawhi Leonard could haunt the Spurs for the entire month that he will be out.

The Spurs currently tout one of the best defenses in the league, only allowing fourth-best 96.5 points per game. Leonard is a huge catalyst for this performance, leading the team in steals with 1.7 per game and also being one of the top rebounders for his team with 6.1 per game.

Where Leonard’s importance comes into play is when he’s guarding some of the top small forwards in the league, which would have been LeBron James in Sunday’s contest. During last season’s NBA Finals, Leonard would sag off James on the perimeter, helping to pack the paint with other Spurs defenders, forcing James to shoot the jump shot from mid-range.

In Games 1 through 6, this plan worked, with James only shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc and 50 percent from the field. Game 7 is when the dynamic changed, and James was finally able to light up the Spurs’ defense from everywhere on the court, shooting 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line and 55 percent from the field.

Outside of his phenomenal Game 7 shooting streak, James was guarded quite well by Leonard throughout the course of the Finals. Leonard’s defensive absence will definitely be felt in this game, especially with Spurs also being without Danny Green and Tiago Splitter, two other Spurs starters.

It isn’t like the Heat will be without injuries either, with Dwyane Wade most likely missing this game as well. The most important task in this game will be containing James and without Leonard, that could be a very difficult one for the Spurs.

Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter @outofboundsjay, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Your Favorites
 
 
Close Article Return to stream X
NBA Videos

Watch Kawhi Leonard Come Through With Game-Winner

It was a more competitive game than expected to be sure, but Kawhi Leonard made sure the San Antonio Spurs beat the Orlando Magic by draining a cold blooded game-winning jumper.

Comment 0 Comments
 
 
Close Article Return to stream X
NBA Videos

Watch Popovich Show Disbelief At Trump's Win

If you've ever watched a San Antonio Spurs game on national television, then you know it's no secret that Gregg Popovich hates giving in-game interviews. In tonight's game, David Aldridge asked him if he wanted results from the primary elections in New Hampshire and Popovich couldn't believe his ears when he heard Donald Trump's name.

Comment 0 Comments
 
 
Close Article Return to stream X
NBA Videos

Dwyane Wade's Kid Can Ball

Lately we've seen so many second generation basketball stars developing before our very eyes. In the last few weeks, we've seen video of Jason Williams' son, LeBron James' two kids and now Dwyane Wade's son, Zaire, tearing up the basketball court.

Comment 0 Comments