2013 NBA Finals Preview: Five Heat vs. Spurs Matchups to Watch
We have reached the season three finale of Miami Heat Against the World, the greatest show in television history. Just when you think the show has peaked and might get canceled, it gets renewed for another four episodes.
In its third consecutive finals appearance, the Heat now takes on the San Antonio Spurs, an extremely experienced and worthy foe. So much mystery remains as to what fans might witness this upcoming week and a half, because the two teams, although having met twice this season and resulting in two Heat victories, have really yet to face each other. In the two games, neither team came to the table full-strength, so it's impossible to know exactly how they'll match up against one another. Red Mamba shooting threes over Rashard Lewis' outstretched hand doesn't exactly tip us off as to which way to lean in this series. So let's take a matchup-by-matchup look.
LeBron has extra motivation in this series. In 2007, LeBron was flat-out loved by everyone. Then it all began. LeBron's Cavs faced the Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals, and by "faced" I mean "Greg Popovich and the Spurs emptied their entire ballsack on the Cavs' collective faces." The Spurs swept the Cavs with an effortless quickness, and the shit cloud over LeBron James' head materialized almost instantly. Can he win the big game? How dare he call himself "the King"?! I asked LeBron James for change for a dollar, and all I got back was this phone that only vibrates, or something -- I'm bad at jokes. Imagine: If he had been able to lead that Cavs team to a championship that season, he would have avoided most of the mockery and questioning.
LeBron hasn't hidden the fact that he wants revenge, recently saying:
"I have something in me that they took in '07 -- beat us on our home floor, celebrated on our home floor," James said. "I won't forget that. You shouldn't as a competitor. You should never forget that."
It's common knowledge that a vengeful Cobra Dick is the most lethal Cobra Dick in all the land. There is no anti-venom. You just wear diapers the rest of your life and deal with it. LeBron is Pee-Wee, and the Spurs are Francis; LeBron wants his bike back. What LeBron wants, LeBron gets.
Tony Parker somehow flies under the radar for huge chunks of a season at a time. Well, not somehow -- it's because he plays in San Antonio. If there weren't a guy named LeBron James in the NBA, chances are Tony Parker would have been named MVP this season, in which he averaged 20.3 points, 7.6 assists, and 3 rebounds.
It feels like Parker is 38, but he's only 31. He's exceptionally good, and the Heat will need to keep an eye on him at all times. His ability to maneuver to the basket could spell trouble for Mario Chalmers, especially foul-wise, because we have all seen that Mario is good for at least two stupid fouls a game. Chances are Spoelstra will use Norris Cole more often, hoping his speed and tenacity on defense will bother Parker. This is your classic "Can't stop him, home to contain him" situation here. You can't expect Tony Parker to have a terrible series against Chalmers and Cole; you just have to hope the two combined can hold their own. Whether it be with their own offense on the other end or by forcing Parker to pass to the open man more often than not, the duo can't let Parker take over games the way he tends to do at times.