In fact, the setup is the same; Chicago won the first of three titles against Seattle before taking down the Jazz twice.
I know the person writing why San Antonio is going to win the hardware will tell you the Spurs had the best team in the Association all year, blah, blah, blah.
Let me tell you something, whatever the Spurs can to, Miami can do it just a little better. I’m not calling for the Heat to sweep, instead, they will do all the right things at all the right times and cement their place in NBA history and all those old-school Bulls fans can continue to whine about Miami only being halfway to what the Da Bulls accomplished. (I cannot say my true feelings about this or I won’t get paid for this article.)
Alright already, every basketball fan and NBA basketball handicapper knows Gregg Popovich is a tremendous coach, but what Eric Spoelstra! It’s not like he was in the D-League coaching a bunch of wanna-be’s.
He cut his teeth under the great Pat Reilly, learned invaluable lessons in his first finals in losing to Dallas, in which he was outcoached and today is he at least tied with Doc Rivers as the second-best head coach in the NBA.
He’s unflappable, knows his players capabilities and understands matchups as well as any person in charge of a NBA team.
Miami is Ready and Rested
Remember February thru the end of the regular season when NBA fans and those trying to beat the NBA odds with their sports picks were in forums complaining Miami had no chance at a 3-peat without Dwayne Wade?
Well, Spoelstra and the coaching staff were nobody’s fools and they rested Wade’s aching lower body, wanting to make sure he could be as healthy as possible for what mattered most, the playoffs. Because D-Wade only played in 54 regular season games, his body is fresher and as we have seen in the postseason, his level of performance has increased with each series and he’s averaging more minutes than in the regular season.
You don’t have to be a hoops savant to figure out the Eastern Conference blew this year and Miami enters this year fresher than the last two. In the prior two seasons, they had one extremely challenging seven-game series before the Finals. By the time this series starts, Miami will have only played 15 games since April 20, hardly a taxing schedule.
The Heat Drink more Champagne
Nobody spreads a defense the way Miami does. That is why they finished No. 1 in effective field goal percentage in the NBA. They have the long-range bombers to drill eight 3-pointers a game, but James, Wade and Chris Bosh can all attack the rim and pile up free throws against any team.
A common complaint is the Heat is weak defensively in the paint. I’ll even acknowledge there is a scent of truth to that statement, but if this such a problem, why is Miami the first club since Boston in 1984-87 to be playing for the Larry O’Brien trophy four consecutive years?
Here’s the deal, San Antonio had two unbelievable chances to win the title in Game 6 and 7 last June and did not. This adds to the Heat’s feeling of invincibility. No matter how you want to view it, Miami’s top players are better than San Antonio’s. Not by a wide margin, but enough to win a third championship.
For you trendy types out there, in the past 10 years when a No. 2 seed has played a No. 1 seed, they are 41-31 SU and 46-26 ATS.
I took the Miami at +110 to win the series at the sportsbook of my choice and I know I’m cashing this winning ticket!
NBA Finals Pick: Miami in 6