I must admit that I had my doubts about both the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs reaching the Finals at various points during the playoffs, but here they are and I think these really are the best two teams in the NBA. I actually did pick the Heat to make to the Finals in the preseason, but I thought they would be meeting the L.A. Clippers back then. Well, Heat vs. Clippers may indeed happen within another year or two, but obviously not this year. Instead we have a rematch of the teams that played in the Finals of 2013, which the Heat won in 7, and that is just fine with me.
The Miami Heat (54-28, 22-19 away)
The San Antonio Spurs (62-20, 32-9 away)
San Antonio will have home court advantage by virtue of having the better record in the regular season and the format will be 2-2-1-1-1, instead of 2-3-2. Home court is obviously an advantage for San Antonio and I think the current format gives SA a small added edge.
These teams split their two regular season meetings, with each team winning at home.
After all that we have seen this season I now think that there are only two teams that would be capable of dethroning the Heat and those two teams are the San Antonio Spurs and the OKC Thunder.
I think the starting five for each team are pretty evenly matched. Miami’s LeBron James remains the game’s best all around player, but Kawhi Leonard, SA’s superb 2nd year forward should be able to make things challenging for LBJ.
SA’s old guard, consisting of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili should effectively counter James and the other members of Miami’s Big Three, Wade and Bosh. After many years starting, SG Ginobili now comes off the bench, to lead a very deep and talented bench squad. I think SA’s bench is stronger than Miami’s is and that will be a deciding factor in this series.
I have give a slight edge to SA in the coaching department. Miami Head Coach Eric Spoelstra has proven to be an excellent HC since he was promoted to that position 6 years ago by Pat Riley. He has now guided to Miami to four straight Finals and has two championships to his credit so far. So, Spoelstra is obviously very capable, but he’s once again matching wits with Gregg Popovich, who is even more accomplished, winning 4 championships over 18 years. SA has posted a winning record the last l7 years and that consistency is unmatched in the NBA.
I’m predicting that the Spurs will win this series in 7 games.