All season long, the Spurs have been the best team in the NBA and they have waited all 12 months for a chance at redemption and they are here to close deal, backed with a better overall team and tremendous motivation.
San Antonio’s Depth to Matchup With
It has been a long time since we have seen a team that plays the game as expertly as the Spurs. As all the San Antonio Spurs players acknowledge, head coach Gregg Popovich has built “a system” in which ball movement and execution is tantamount, which frees up space on the floor for different players to excel and find shots.
It is not lost on NBA basketball handicappers that no Spurs player averaged more than 30 minutes and even in the postseason, only Tim Duncan is playing more than 32 minutes on average.
While I agree that star players help you win championships, it is the often role players which can help you take a game or possibly two with their play in The Finals. Given the fact that their are still question as to if Tony Parker will actually play, the role players might just be what decide this series.
This is where a Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter or even a Patty Mills plays 10 heroic minutes, beating the betting odds and the Spurs emerge victorious.
Spurs Have Greater Versatility
As we saw in the Western Finals, San Antonio really has the ability to make adjustments. Popovich is sensational planner and bench coach, but if the players do not execute, the best strategies can be foiled.
Starting in Game 3, Oklahoma was able to use Serge Ibaka in the defensive paint and with Splitter not a threat to create his own shot; the Thunder doubled Duncan repeatedly and stayed with San Antonio’s shooters.
Popovich has seen enough and started the more versatile Diaw, which altered Oklahoma City’s defense and not coincidently the Spurs won and covered the final two games of the series.
Expect more of the same from Popovich in this series.
San Antonio has Home Court Advantage This Time Around
Last season the Spurs had 3-2 lead in the series, but lost both games by the slimmest of margins in Miami. While they will not have to play consecutive away contests later if the series goes that far because of the format change back to 2-2-1-1-1, Game 7 would be in southwest Texas, which is why sportsbooks made San Antonio a -120 to -130 series favorite.
Reasons Why the Spurs Win a Fifth Championship
As mentioned, the Spurs ability to mix and match and play different styles. Early in the series, look for San Antonio to pound the ball into the paint to Duncan and Splitter. Though Miami has won the last two titles, they still have problems with big men in the paint area, lacking size.
San Antonio will be a three to four-point favorite in Games 1 and 2 at home and I can see both big guys creating havoc near the basket. The Heat will undoubtedly at some point go “small” and the Spurs have ample amount of skill and firepower to counteract.
With several days off, Tony Parker should be ready to play and as long as he does not have a complete relapse of turning his ankle, I have the confidence to use my series NBA pick on the Spurs.
One of the overlooked aspects of the Popovich era is his team’s ability to play defense in a way that controls star players from the opposing team. That is not to say LeBron James cannot have a special game, but it seems unlikely with the way they defend.
Lastly, this is not the same Miami team which has been to the Finals the past three years. In the first three years of the Big 3, those teams ranked 2nd, 5th and 6th in field goal percentage defense during the regular season. This year’s squad was a run of the mill 16th and is more offensive-oriented as noted by their 11-3-1 OVER record in the Playoffs.
As mentioned, San Antonio has wanted this badly for a year, and with Duncan 38 years old and Manu Ginobili 36 next month, they realize their basketball mortality and defeat the NBA odds and win one more NBA crown.NBA Finals Pick – San Antonio in 6