The Miami Heat are the reigning two-time NBA champions and can be regarded as the league marker for success. With that in mind, the upcoming matchup for the San Antonio Spurs is a must-win and should not be taken lightly. This will be an opportunity to make a statement to the Heat and the rest of the league as well.
The last meeting on Jan. 26 in South Beach was not pretty to say the least. The Heat put on an offensive spectacle by shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc and nearly 60 percent from the field. San Antonio was not terrible defensively but did allow the Miami to gain a rhythm they didn’t lose all game. Chris Bosh went 9-of-10 shooting with 24 points to lead 113-101 stomping of the Spurs.
Now the history created by these two teams in last year’s classic NBA Finals series that went the seven game distance is just the foundation for what is to come. Many may not agree, but both teams have legitimate chance to meet again for the ultimate bragging rights this year. And with that being said, whoever can gain the most out of the regular season meetings can use the experience for the latter.
San Antonio does not have an impressive track record to date against the NBA’s top teams. As a matter of fact, their three wins against winning teams this season is downright questionable. But we can chalk that up to injuries for the most part, and now that Gregg Popovich has his pieces coming together, there should be no excuse against the Heat.
As LeBron James comes off a career-high 61-point performance from earlier in the week, the Spurs will have to be especially geared on the defensive end. The difference between this game and the last will be Kawhi Leonard. He will likely earn the right to guard the four-time Most Valuable Player of the NBA as he did in the Finals. San Antonio cannot look to outshoot or outrun the Heat because athleticism will not favor them. Defense will be the answer and the exclamation point on the Spurs’ public service announcement to the league.