By Tyler Leli @jetleli on June 1, 2014
The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are set for a rematch in the 2014 NBA Finals, and basketball fans worldwide are buzzing in anticipation of Game 1 beginning on Thursday night. Of course, there will be many pundits bandying about picks for the series, but I have gone a step further by making five bold predictions about everything to player health to performance. And per usual, it culminates in who will win the entire series.
Throughout the 2014 NBA Playoffs, Wade and Bosh have both moved from spectacular games to looking awful with great consistency, and they will pay for this against the Spurs. San Antonio has too much discipline to let either player truly go crazy scoring in any game, and they will likely put the onus on LeBron James to make or break the Heat's hope.
Parker was forced to sit out the second half of the Spurs series clinching win in the Western Conference Finals, but that won't mean anything come the start of the NBA Finals. The 32-year-old is simply too tough to willingly miss out on any games, and the five-day rest will prove a godsend to his ailing ankle. Look for Parker to play, and to expose Miami's deficiencies at point guard.
Lewis wowed the basketball world in the Eastern Conference Finals, as he started Games 5 and 6, and combined to score 31 points and contribute six rebounds. This opportunity to play big minutes was provided because of an injury to Chris Anderson, but Birdman has come back, and Lewis will return to a bit-part role in the NBA Finals.
Leonard has quietly developed into a great secondary player for the Spurs, as he plays great defense, and he has averaged 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game during the playoffs. Look for Leonard to be the beneficiary of being defended by secondary Heat players during the Finals, and to have an absolutely huge impact on the stat sheet as a result. In the end, this will culminate in Leonard being named a surprise NBA Finals MVP.
Most people expect the Heat and Spurs to battle it out in a seven-game series, but I disagree profusely. San Antonio has learned a lot after a heartbreaking loss last year, and their mix of impeccable ball movement, great team defense and overall will to win will be too much for a Heat team that model of consistency. Look for this one to end in five games, and for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to retire afterward.
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