By Jared Doyle @outofboundsjay on June 2, 2014
For the first time since the Big Three formed in 2010, the Miami Heat are being considered the underdogs in a playoff series. The San Antonio Spurs have been unquestionably the best team in the NBA all season long, and their dominance really hasn’t waned in the playoffs, but the Miami Heat have been playing on a whole different level throughout these first three rounds. Here are five reasons why the Spurs don’t stand a chance in the NBA Finals.
Chris Bosh has always been a stealthy weapon for the Heat, especially with his newly forged three-point shooting stroke. His dominance in the last three games of the ECF is what helped Miami thoroughly dominate the Indiana Pacers. Look for Bosh to get going early and often against the Spurs, and his lanky-defense against Tim Duncan will be vital in winning this series.
Who would have though that Rashard Lewis would become the Heat’s 7th man off the bench in the NBA Finals? Lewis has been on a three-point shooting binge over the last few games, so expect the Heat to continue using this weapon to stretch the floor defensively against the Spurs.
After a horrendous outing in the second round, Norris Cole vowed to improve his play in the following series and boy has he delivered. In the last three games of the ECF, Cole averaged nine points, two rebounds and 2.5 assists on 67 percent shooting. Most importantly, his defense on Lance Stephenson was out of this world, and the Heat will look for that stifling defense against on of the best point guards in the game, Tony Parker.
Every season, LeBron improves in one facet or the other. Over the last few seasons, most notably, it has been his field goal efficiency. In this Finals matchup, the Spurs will be daring James to shoot the ball rather than driving to the rim for the easy layup or foul shots. This might be the first season where the Spurs need to re-think this strategy, as James shot a season average of 57 percent from the field.
This has been arguably the Heat’s biggest factor for their dominance this postseason. A healthy Wade adds a whole other variable to the defensive coverage, and that's something the Spurs didn’t have to worry about as much last season when Wade was basically limping through each game at this stage of the playoffs. If Wade continues to average 18.7 points on 52 percent shooting, the Spurs are going to have their hands full.
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