By Alex Lamport on June 2, 2014
The NBA playoffs has reached the same final destination it did a year ago. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat will square off for the title once more. This time, however, the Spurs will avenge their loss from last year and stop Miami’s three-peat. Here’s why.
This is the Spurs' second consecutive Finals appearance, but it’s Miami’s fourth. At this point, the Heat have played more than an entire extra season of basketball with all the added playoff games. They may be professional athletes, but eventually even LeBron James has to wear down. Dwyane Wade has already shown signs of fatigue, and the Spurs can take advantage if they play with more energy.
Shooting from beyond the arc was a major factor in the Spurs' success in last year’s matchup. This year, it could be even more of an advantage. Sharpshooter Danny Green can still win a game singlehandedly if he gets hot, and the Spurs also have Marco Belinelli, who is capable of doing the same. Miami may have the best shooter of all time in Ray Allen, but they’re still in trouble in any game that becomes a shootout.
LeBron James has had an easy go of it so far in the playoffs because no opponent has been up to the challenge of defending him. That will change once Kawhi Leonard steps up to guard him. Leonard is one of the lankiest and most athletic wing players in the league. No one can shut down King James, but Leonard will be able to limit his impact.
Last year, the Spurs held a 3-2 series lead, but failed to win either Game 6 or 7 in Miami. This year, San Antonio had a better regular season record, which means home-court advantage belongs to them. If the series goes seven games again, expect the Spurs to get it done.
In a just world, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich would get one last championship so they can retire as winners. After costly mistakes were made by both of them last year, they have come back hungrier than ever to win once more. It’s the storybook ending they deserve and would be the perfect closing overture to both of their careers.
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