A million predictions gone wrong, and we’re right where everyone kinda knew we’d end up. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are playing in the NBA Finals for the second year in a row.
The Spurs had the NBA’s best record all season, featuring the league’s most consistent trio over the last decade and a seemingly endless rotation of “other guys.”
The Heat seemed to be cruising all year. They let Dwyane Wade play 2/3 of the season under a maintenance program, their defense slipped at times according to metrics, and the general chatter about them was as tame as it had been in the past four seasons.
HOWEVER, they still won 54 games, and basically everyone knew during the season that when they had to turn it on in the playoffs, they could beat anybody four out of seven times. They are still the two-time defending champs after all.
So we have two great teams and another intriguing matchup. The best player in the league and a top-heavy supporting cast against a basketball machine that makes plays like this routinely:
*single tear rolls down cheek*
So, who do you take in a relative toss up? After all, their series last year was thisclose to going the other way.
I’m going with the Spurs in 6. But instead of explaining the reasons why, I’ll explain the reasons why I’m sure to be wrong:
Tony Parker’s Ankle –
Parker missed the second half and overtime of Game 6 last week. He actually pulled himself out of the game at halftime. After (apparently) aggravating his ankle sprain from Game 4. While the rest of the Spurs picked up his slack and clinched the West, it’s clear they need him to win the championship.
It’s one of a few matchups where the Spurs have a clear advantage. Of course the Spurs don’t really beat you one-on-one like, say, the Thunder. But if Manu Ginobili has to start in Parker’s place (as Head Coach Gregg Popovich considered before Game 6), the Spurs are vulnerable.
San Antonio needs Parker in the lane creating problems for Miami. Of course, Miami could counter with this guy…
LeBron. James. –
Also known as “reason number two why it’s dumb to pick against Miami.”
There isn’t much left to say, James is the best player in the league. He has all sorts of obscure stats like “Only player since Michael Jordan to score 41 points, including four dunks, with 11+ rebounds, 7+ assists on a Wednesday after having played Spades and set his opponents twice.”
Seriously, what’s up with those obscure combinations of stats that ESPN tries to impress us with? I know James is great because I have eyes, not because you came up with a random set of numbers that Wilt Chamberlain did. LeBron wouldn’t be any less great if he had one less rebound.
What was I talking about? Oh. Right. Lebron can ruin any prediction because he’s amazing and can’t really be guarded. Moving on.
Dwyane Wade isn’t broken this year –
That’s a big difference between this year and last. Wade played in the Finals last year, but he wasn’t exactly himself.
Wade averaged 19 points and four rebounds/assists in the Finals last year. Those are great numbers for Mario Chalmers. But for Wade? That’s literally the least he could do to win a championship.
This year, Wade’s maintenance program, and a relatively easy cruise through the East means he should be better this year. As the role players in Miami have taken a step back, Wade is in position to fill the gaps.
I doubted his chances to be healthy in June all year. Seems like that was proclamation number infinity that I had wrong. Hence his post.
The world needs more rants –
Seriously, how great is this?
Because I picked them –
There you have it. I’m going with Spurs in 6, which means the Heat will definitely win.
Who do you have in the Finals this year? What could you possibly be basing that on? These teams are equal.
Break it down in the comments below!