The San Antonio Spurs will take on the Miami Heat tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM on Sony SIX. Of all the matches shown in India thus far, this one is by far the best. It may well be a preview of the NBA Finals. Both teams have just lost 3 games thus far this season. The Spurs have a 12-3 record right now while the Heat are 10-3.
San Antonio Spurs
Just when it seems that the robot’s batteries may be failing, Timmy charges right back up. Tim Duncan seems to be cut out from a different sheet of metal. The expected narrative for the Spurs this season was that Tony Parker will have to step up his game to compensate for the aging Duncan. Instead, Duncan has been averaging 18.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 blocks per game, all the while shooting 52.4% from the field.
Duncan’s 14.1 shot attempts are his highest since the 2008-09 season. Even without Duncan’s visit to the fountain of youth or whatever fountain of oil is used for machines like him, it was expected that the Spurs would be a finals contender, come playoff time. With T-100 turning into T-1000, the odds in favour of that just increased doubly. Parker has been averaging 17.7 points and 7.5 assists per game also.
The Miami Heat are probably the most popular unpopular team in the league. To be unpopular, you need to be good. Nobody hates the Wizards or the Bobcats, we pity their mediocrity. Nobody hates the Warriors, we are indifferent to their modicum talent. Greatness inspires hatred, and the Heat have set the narrative for their hatred since the time they colluded as a super team. With James, Wade and Bosh, the primary nightmare of the opponents has to be stopping dribble penetration. What with the attention those players command, it makes effective defensive spacing a nightmare.
The real nightmare is that the Heat are shooting 43.2 percent from the three point line. Miami also has the highest scoring offense in the league, with an average of 104.8 points per game. The Spurs may be more famed for their defense, but they are also averaging 102.1 points per game.
LeBron James has stepped out of a video game and is annihilating the opposition. He is averaging 25.2 points, 8.8 boards, 6.5 assists and one block per game. For the Spurs to win, they need to limit James’ production.
Here’s how the expected matchups stack up:
Mario Chalmers vs Tony Parker
Chalmers may be a solid guard, but there aren’t many in the league who can stay in front of Tony Parker.
Dwyane Wade vs Gary Neal
Wade hasn’t had his best start this season, but going up against Gary Neal he should be able to muscle his way around easy.
LeBron james vs Danny Green
LeBron James. Enough said.
Udonis Haslem vs Tim Duncan
Haslem is a solid force on the boards, but this upgraded and jacked up version of Duncan is seemingly unstoppable.
Chris Bosh vs DeJuan Blair
Chris Bosh has had played the best of the Heat’s big three vs the Spurs recently. DeJuan Blair is an undersized center and will have difficulty containing Bosh who has scored 30 points in both of Spurs’ last two games at Miami, which the Heat have won.
On the bench: Both teams have spark plugs in the form of Ginobili and Ray Allen. Both of them can light up the scoreboard at a moment’s notice.
Advantage: Spurs, but it’s close. Also, Shane Battier is expected to sit this one out even though he is listed as day-to-day.
Coach: Erik Spoelstra vs Greg Popovic. Not very close. Popovic takes this one by a mile.
That’s the thing about the Spurs, they have the best coach in the league on their team and they always play better than the sum of their parts. Expect the Spurs to pull away from the Heat if they can contain the transition game.