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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Predictions: 2013 NBA Finals

12:10:00 PM | 6/5/2013 | Wednesday

Author’s note: This blog post is actually the 4th and final post of the “Predictions: 2013 NBA Playoffs series.”

Okay, two teams remained. They’re standing firm and tall. But only one of them will prevail and emerged victorious. So the big question: Which team will win the 2013 National Basketball Association Championship?

The San Antonio Spurs came up raising everyone’s eyebrows prior to making it to the Finals. After all, nobody has been talking much about this team. They’re already on the elder’s group if you talk about their age. But with age though comes two things: (1) fundamentality of their talents and; (2) their enriched experience when it comes to playoff games. They’re on the big dance again for already four times in the last 11 years. Plus, they always bagged the trophy every time they made it, with the last one at the expense of LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers (and take note, it’s a sweep).

On the other hand, the Miami Heat, the hottest team in the league right now, is looking for its 3rd title on their franchise history. Also, just 7 years after winning the big one in ’06, and winning the last in ’12, the defending champions are on their 3rd straight finals appearance. They always made it to the championship stage since 2011, the time when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade to form a formidable trio in the recent generation of NBA teams and superstars. They only lost 2 years ago, their first try, and that was against the Dallas Mavericks.

How these two teams made it to the big dance?

On the side of the Spurs, the critics did not talk much about them. In fact, oddmakers picked the likes of Oklahoma City Thunder to win it all for the West (so it’s supposed to be a rematch of 2012 NBA Finals, eh?). Silence though contains strong messages as the Spurs managed to secure the second place at their playoff bracket. And they managed to sweep two of their three playoff series, with one against the Los Angeles Lakers and just recently, the Memphis Grizzlies.

On the other hand, the Miami Heat had been on ups and downs this season. Yes, they managed to be on the top spot of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. And they had done it with their 27-game winning streak, the second most-longest in the league history, and just six games less of the Lakers’ feat in the 70s. However, they struggled in one huge department – rebounding, something that they need to focus on, especially LeBron was also piloting the “four” slot alternately with their other big men such as Bosh, and Udonis Haslem.

However, the 3-on-3 faceoff did not occurred, even if Miami emerged victorious on its 2 seasonal meetings. But the Finals is a different ball game. Ask LeBron about it, when they faced Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker’s crew in ’07. Coach Gregg Poppovich knows how to win a basketball game, and that’s thru team play on both ends, more particularly on defence, something that also served as Miami’s strength for this season though.

I think the key match-up for this one will be Kawhi Leonard versus James. Hey, it’s such a very tough assignment for the former to defend the latter... well, unless if Bruce Bowen was still playing though. But made no mistake about the young man, Leonard was considered as one of the best defenders in the perimeter. However, the problem is... is he the only guy to depend on when it comes to defending an MVP? That’s quite a huge task for Coach Pop. The King’s totally different from what he was 6 years ago, and I’m talking about offensive mindset.

But the Heat will have a big problem though if LeBron’s the only guy who’s carrying the team. Whatever happened to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or even Ray Allen? Inconsistency killed their performance and statistics. All of them must step up.

So, my take for this series? Just expect the unexpected. If the spurs can steal one at home, they’re safe and have a fat chance to dethrone the defending champs. But for the Heat, if they managed to win their two games at home and managed to pull a win (at least one) at the Alamo city, looks like their opponent will extend their reign.

The verdict: either Heat by 6, or Spurs at 7.

Catch the NBA Finals games live on NBA.com and your respective broadcast carriers worldwide; (if you’re at the Philippines) Solar Sports (Basketball TV) or at ABS-CBN Sports (ABS-CBN/Stuido23).

Post-Script: Props to the featured columnist at the website bleachreport.com for the topic, for his ideas enlightened me more prior to writing this post. Until next time, folks!

Author: slickmaster | (c) 2013 september twenty-eight productions

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