Heat Nation's NBA Finals Predictions - Heat Nation
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Heat Nation’s NBA Finals Predictions

Heat Nation's NBA Finals Predictions

Eric Edelman 

Game 1: Spurs
Game 2: Heat
Game 3: Heat
Game 4: Spurs
Game 5: Heat
Game 6: Spurs
Game 7: Heat

The San Antonio Spurs are favored as -150 chalk over the Heat, and they’re favored for good reason. When you have homecourt advantage, arguably the greatest coach in the history of basketball, arguably the greatest power forward in the history of the game, and a pair of hall-of-fame caliber teammates—both of whom are arguable legends in their own right, it makes sense as to why the oddsmakers like San Antonio to win it all. And that doesn’t include their incredible depth, brilliant basketball IQ across the board, and the fact their offense is virtually unstoppable from an x’s and o’s perspective. Their scheme is a lot like the Princeton offense. Positions matter a lot less in their system, and this means they’re not as reliant on one or two guys. It’s the same reason that their odds of winning the series without Tony Parker are 56-percent as opposed to 57-percent with him in the lineup. From watching them all season, they just look like a scary team that’s only beatable when their shots aren’t falling. They can beat you in transition; they can beat you in the halfcourt, and their bench is just as good as their starters at many times.

On paper, the Spurs should win this series, but my heart tells me Miami. Miami has to play the best series of their lives…again. I like Miami’s starpower of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to overpower the Spurs hall of fame trio as well as their brilliant youngster, Kawhi Leonard. We need to see an aggressive LeBron in this series, and he needs to get his jumper going. San Antonio will let Miami beat them with jumpers, but they will not allow Miami to get easy looks in the paint. LeBron has to establish his dominance, and he needs to do it in a big way from the perimeter. I don’t even think they’ll double him on post-up looks as they’ll force him to beat them one-on-one, and I think a Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard can give him trouble. Doubles would mean open three-pointers for Miami, and the Spurs know that if Miami’s perimeter shooting gets rolling, they’re tough to beat. I think we’re in for another battle for the ages, and I like Miami to three-peat in epic fashion with a game seven win.

Prediction: Heat in 7.

Matt Mramer

Game 1: Spurs
Game 2: Heat
Game 3: Heat
Game 4: Heat
Game 5: Spurs
Game 6: Heat

Last year, it took a miraculous Ray Allen three and some help from the basketball gods for the Heat to slide by the Spurs in seven games. This year, I think they get it done in six and wrap it up at home in Miami. I fully expect Chris Bosh to re-emerge from the shadows of the Indiana series and step up in a big way for the Heat. Bosh is an integral part of Miami’s offense and they can’t have him scoring 7 points a game or going 0-for-5 from behind the arc.

One big question mark for the Spurs will be the health of Tony Parker down the stretch. Sources are saying that they expect Parker to play in game one, but he can’t just play, he has to be exceptional. He is the anchor of the Spurs offense, and without his driving and cutting, it can be difficult for San Antonio to develop any offensive rhythm. Parker sat out the second half of game six against the Thunder, and if that happens in any of the games during the finals, the Spurs could be in trouble.

Gregg Popovich does seem to have a magic wand when it comes to slowing down LeBron James on the offensive end, so I’m anxious to see the type of production Miami gets from the King in the series. I expect the role players for Miami to have as crucial a role as ever in this series, with Bosh coming in with his struggles and LeBron historically being challenged by the San Antonio D. Look for Mario Chalmers to be the X-factor in this series, he can make a big difference for the Heat at both ends of the floor.

Overall, despite the Western Conference favoritism and the home court for the Spurs, I have to believe that Miami is the better team in this series. They have continually shown an ability to get it done in the Playoffs, even when their back is completely against the wall. I think the Heat see their window for dominance closing, just as the Spurs have seen it close, and they want to take advantage of this opportunity. I got Miami in six, and I don’t have any remorse about that prediction.

Prediction: Heat in 6.

Bradford Ahn

Game 1: Spurs
Game 2: Spurs
Game 3: Heat
Game 4: Heat
Game 5: Spurs
Game 6: Heat
Game 7: Spurs

I honestly can’t see us matching San Antonio’s offense for a full seven games without home court advantage. Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw and the entire Spurs defense will put forth a concerted defensive effort on LeBron and Norris Cole/Rio can’t stop Tony Parker. To me, the x-factors are Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili. If Wade severely outperforms Ginobili, the Heat could take it, and vice versa.

One thing that most people often overlook is that Manu was almost historically bad for stretches of game 6 and game 7 last year, with a plethora of critical turnovers, missed free throws, and missed shots. I don’t think that’s going to happen again.

In addition, Miami is notoriously known for its slow starts. Against Charlotte, Brooklyn, and Indiana this wasn’t a pressing issue. But if we start slow against San Antonio, I don’t think it’s going to be possible to dig out of a 20 point hole every game.

When a team loses the NBA Finals the year before, they come back the next year even hungrier. Don’t believe me? Ask your very own Heat in 2011 or the Mavs of ’06. I’m predicting each team wins on their respective home court and that means, even though I am dying to see the Heat win, my brain is telling me Spurs in seven.

Prediction: Spurs in 7.

Matt Dziak

Game 1: Heat
Game 2: Spurs
Game 3: Heat
Game 4: Heat
Game 5: Spurs
Game 6: Heat

For the Heat to win the NBA Finals, it will need to start by winning game one and taking control of home court. Miami has had its share of trouble defending good three point shooting teams as was the case against the Brooklyn Nets. The Spurs have an abundance of good shooters surrounding Tim Duncan and Miami will need to rotate and close out on the open shooters to stop the Spurs.

The key matchup will be between LeBron James and the rising Kawhi Leonard at the small forward position. James is capable of scoring at will regardless of the defensive assignment, but Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich will do everything he can think of to reduce his contributions. Leonard scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Spurs game six victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. If San Antonio gets that same consistent level of production from Leonard, they will be tough for Miami to beat.

Another interesting storyline is how the Heat will matchup against Tim Duncan. Look for a combination of Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen to rotate on Duncan until one of them proves worthy of slowing the ageless “Mr. Fundamental.” Miami wins in six: 4-2 and LeBron James will be Finals MVP.

Prediction: Heat in 6.

Bobby Chore

Game 1: Heat
Game 2: Spurs
Game 3: Spurs
Game 4: Heat
Game 5: Spurs
Game 6: Heat
Game 7: Heat

On six different occasions, an NBA Finals winner has defeated a runner-up two straight years. Here comes lucky number seven, as I have the Heat winning in the same number of games as last year’s epic showdown. As vengeful and motivated this Spurs team is, the Heat are just as inspired, charging through the Eastern Conference with little to no resistance. LeBron James will easily be the best player on the floor throughout the series, with a healthy Dwyane Wade arguably being second-best. The Spurs really have no individual defenders to prevent James and Wade from having their way, but this Spurs lineup features a deeper bench than last year, which will be the Heat’s biggest problem.

However, if Tony Parker is not 100 percent healthy from that ankle injury, the combination of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole could prove to be too much for even Gregg Popovich to handle. I’m certain Tim Duncan will rise to the occasion in what could be his last hurrah, but Chris Bosh has been quite a handful in recent games. This one should prove no different against the likes of Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw. And then we have Ray Allen against Manu Ginobili. Both are proven, clutch winners, but Ginobili’s implosion and Allen’s rise in Games 6 and 7 of last year’s Finals cannot be ignored. Overall, the Spurs have a better team, but the Heat are playing with nothing to lose and only glory to gain. I can’t say that about San Antonio. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant: make way for the next dynamic duo to three-peat in James and Wade.

Prediction: Heat in 7.

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