We are going to be hearing an awful lot about Spurs-Heat over the next few days, and let me quickly just share a few thoughts.
Miami was the favorite going into the year. They were certainly the favorite going into the playoffs. And I am too stubborn to reverse course now - I will stick with my season long prediction that they will win it all. Apparently so will the odds makers - Miami is a somewhat heavy favorite going into the series. But I would not be surprised in the least if San Antonio wins the Finals. And they might win rather easily.
Ever since the Summer of 2010 the Heat have been the story of the league. Their initial struggles, and eventual success, has been the talk of the NBA for three years now. And the Heat narrative continues to change. After rampaging through most of the regular season, Miami has looked off-kilter for much of the postseason. I don't mean to take anything away from the Pacers - who put up a valiant fight - but the Heat have not been the same since Dwyane Wade got injured. And on top of Wade's injury, Chris Bosh has played relatively poorly recently. This reality has meant that for much of the playoffs Miami's entire offense has completely revolved around LeBron James' greatness, not unlike how it was for James back in his Cleveland days.
I find all of this fascinating. James initially relocated to Miami to play with far superior talent, but three years later there are serious parallels to his old Cavaliers' teams. James' skills and on-court mindset have certainly matured since his time with the Cavs, but he now finds himself in a similar situation - one where he is part of an excellent defensive team, but one lacking in offensive firepower besides himself.
Obviously, it wasn't supposed to go down like this. Despite some ailments, Wade was still close to his normal All-NBA self for the regular season, and Bosh was an ideal third, complementary star. But all that has gone down the tubes in May and early June. Wade is hurt, and not close to being the player we expect him to be. And Bosh, after three years of taking a supporting role, seems unable to conjure up the alpha dominance needed to assert himself as the second strong offensive weapon that Miami needs behind James in place of the injured Wade. Like I said, the entire situation makes for a compelling storyline.
If the Heat are to beat the Spurs, LeBron James is going to have to be absolutely superior. The problem for Miami is that James could do that, and they still might lose. The Spurs are a great team. I could write 10,000 words on them if I had the time. Last year they looked great and then freakishly collapsed against OKC. This year is different. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are all still stars, the coaching and supporting players are superb, and San Antonio is much healthier than Miami. It should be a hell of a series. Enjoy.