Blogtable: Serious Heat On Spurs




Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Week 32: The Heat turn it on | Game 1 lookahead | Finals intrigue


The Heat looked pretty unbeatable in Game 7 against Indy. But last week, many of you favored the Spurs in The Finals. How do you feel now?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Somewhat different. Miami came out in Game 7 vs. Indiana with an aggressiveness driven by fear and urgency, the sense that its only real goal for this whole season was about to slip away. That still can happen if the Spurs beat them four times in the next seven games. After the Pacers’ shot across Miami’s bow, all hands and tactics are on deck now, from LeBron James‘ willingness to play in “Cleveland” mode to coach Erik Spoelstra‘s commitment not to any particular rotation or style but only to the prize. I think we’ll see the Heat in full now.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Unbeatable, yes, as long as the opponent turns the ball over 21 times, including 15 times in the first half. Unbeatable, yes, as long as the opponent’s rising star gets stage fright and fouls out with two field goals in 35 minutes. Back on Dec. 29, the Bucks handled the Heat 104-85. Were we talking about the Bucks being unbeatable the next morning? Beatable, yes.

Chris Bosh (Issac Baldizon/NBAE)

Chris Bosh (Issac Baldizon/NBAE)

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: All I know is when Miami plays like that type of defensive ferocity, they are practically unbeatable. Having said that, we just haven’t seen that type of intensity much this postseason. And with Dwyane Wade still ailing, Chris Bosh struggling and the role players seemingly out of sorts, I’m sticking with my earlier prediction: Spurs in 6.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Still feel the same. While picking the Heat to win – in 7 – the Pacers made them look more beatable than I originally imagined. I didn’t think anyone in the East could give Miami a hard push. I said before the Spurs would have a very good chance. That has not changed.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: From Miami’s perspective, I’m definitely encouraged by how active they were defensively on Monday. But I still believe that the Spurs’ offense is the perfect counter to the Heat’s attack-and-rotate D. Tony Parker is the best pick-and-roll ball handler in the league, who is obviously tougher to contain than George Hill or D.J. Augustin. And when the Heat hedge or double on the pick-and-roll, the Spurs have the shooters to make them pay on the weak side. On the other end of the floor, I just haven’t seen enough consistency from LeBron James’ supporting cast to believe that the Heat can pick apart the Spurs’ improved defense.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: I don’t feel any differently now than I did last week. This is a toss up series to me, with the Heat holding the slightest of edges because they have home court advantage. And after Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals it should be clear just how important that can be in any playoff series. A dominant team in one series dives into another one, with very different matchups, and can get handled. So there is no edge based on the previous series, for either one of these league heavyweights. and since we haven’t really had a chance to see these guys match up at full strength (as my main man Jeff Caplan points out here) there is no real context between these two teams to work with for a prediction in The Finals. I’m rooting for a seven-game epic series, an instant classic worthy of the all-time greats.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: My initial reaction is that I’ll take the Heat. Yes the Spurs are veterans and they can beat you a lot of different ways, but the Heat aren’t new to this. There were many times in the Eastern Conference finals when the Heat seemed like they were coasting — they have to dictate tempo and defensive pressure to knock off San Antonio. And obviously the real key for Miami is what they get from Wade and Bosh — can they put together four games over the next two weeks to where people aren’t making Cleveland comparisons for LeBron again?

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: Sports, as they say, have a short memory. Everybody seems to have already forgotten that the series went to seven games and only remembers the Game 7 blow-out. But, that is not how things work. Winning by 20 or with a last-minute buzzer-beater is irrelevant in playoff basketball. We count the ‘W’s, not the point margin, so no, for me, nothing has changed: the Heat are still the reigning champions, leaving the underdog label to the Spurs. Don’t forget San Antonio has to win one on the road if they want to win another ring. The Spurs still have a pretty good chance if they manage to hit the weak spots of Miami (boards, low-post defense) and set a tone with their pick-n-roll game.

Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: I feel a little differently. But not necessarily because of their offense. That seemed okay, but they looked a little better because of how totally overwhelmed the Pacers looked. Same for their defense. What impressed me was the fire and will to win that the Heat showed. I have rarely seen that these playoffs, and not at all during the Pacers series. When they play like that, they’re tough to beat. I’m still picking the Spurs, because they should be completely healthy, will not be overwhelmed by the big stage and have the best pick-and-roll in the game. But it’s going to be a lot closer now.

Karan Madhok, NBA India: Miami’s blowout was impressive, sure, especially since they reawakened their championship-level defense and saw Dwyane Wade show some signs of life alongside the dominant-as-ever LeBron. If the Big Three can play at a high level and the entire team can get back to their defensive comfort zone, the Heat will certainly edge closer to matching the Spurs neck-to-neck. But ‘edging closer’ might not be enough. The Pacers – even in defeat – have exposed Miami’s weaknesses on the inside, along with the inconsistency of their surrounding cast. The Spurs will figure out a way to further exploit these weaknesses and get the edge.

19 Comments

  1. Viper33 says:

    Some of these folks don’t know what their talking about. The Heat is the best team on the Planet, it’s not even close.
    This is a team that won 27 in a row and played better teams in the Bulls and pacers. The heat can dominate on defense and they will take the ball away from the Spurs. The old men of the spurs will look old in this series.
    Miami in 6 ,only because Wade and bosh maybe subpar in a couple of games, otherwise the Heat would sweep.

  2. Hardhooper says:

    Karan Madhok, the pacers did not do anything new or expose anything that the entire leauge didnt already know about Miami being a small team with a lack of rebounding consitency. Yet the poor, small heat STILL had the MOST wins in the leauge ( including the 2nd longest win streak in the HISTORY of the game). Miami has had the same “weakness” all season and yet here they are in the finals. I’m just saying…

  3. goymon says:

    Spurs all the way

  4. Bernie Cabilin says:

    The NBA FINALS is not only focused on the key players, but it is also the battle between the coaches. And as we all know, Gregg Popovich is the best among the coaches in his era.

  5. JMaine says:

    I’m going to watch this finals @Reggie love the spurs. what do you say if the Heat beat your spurs? Will the Spurs still be great? I love this game because sometimes you get a great finals match up like this one. I going for the heat because I am a player fan and I like LBJ game. I know full well how great the Spurs are, they have knocked out many of my favorite players from getting rings. This is the match up I want to see cuz i want to see the best player in the game, play against a great team with one of the best players to ever play in Tim Duncan. I will enjoy this years Finals i have no prediction because this is a real match up for now.

  6. Reggie love the spurs says:

    Thursday is a day I waited for a long time. Its the day all basketball fans come to see the mighty Heat beat the aging Spurs. They think! I was hoping Miami would defeat the Indiana Pacers because no one would want to watch the finals against the Spurs and Pacers. I needed the Heat to bring the national audience to the NBA Finals. This way, everyone will get a chance to see the Spurs beat the Heat in the finals. This will be the day the Spurs get the respect they deserve from the public. Everyone will see the Miami Heat go down in 6. I truly respect the Heat but the Spurs deserve more respect and love from the public than whats been given them. They are a great team. So tune in and watch what it really means to play a real team.

  7. Silence I'll kill u says:

    Hey you guys out there picking spurs to win the series, can you put my name in your article if your predictions went wrong? I stick to my prediction since the beginning of the regular season, Miami Heat in 5.

  8. Loki says:

    The Spurs have a legacy of greatness, and while their core is 6 years older than they were when they won their last championship it’s still embedded in their DNA. They translated from having one of the best Big men in League history (Robinson) to a top Three Power forward, and have consistently made the playoffs. While the Lakers struggled badly in the mid 00s the Spurs remained consistent while the Heat weren’t even an after thought for a contender. You know another factor in the success of the Spurs? The fact that they have Coach Pop, the man was a Military officer with the credentials to be in the CIA. In other words the man knows how to lead, he’s intelligent and he knows how to bring the best out of his men. San Antonio is going to War with Miami and great tactics could very well dictate the outcome of the game. Who would you rather have as Your General? Spoelstra, or Pop? I’m not saying the Spurs will win automatically, Miami may very well surprise me and I tip my hat to them if they do. But don’t ever count out a team that has been the embodiment of consistency, great team basketball and character for the last 15 years.

  9. hellon says:

    Not a Miami fan,but Spurs have no chance.I think they’ll get swept…too old and slow.

  10. Andrejs says:

    I think that the Spurs sweep didn’t help them because I believe there can be too much rest as there can be too much of everything even if it is a good thing. I agree with Big Time that the Miami Heat will win in 6 games and capture their 2nd NBA title in a row.

  11. Campos says:

    My opinion is that the Pacers were the toughest challenge, they were able do deny pretty much everything down low and intimidate Miami’s shooters. Unless Pop comes up with a defensive strategy that can worn out the Heat as much as the pacers did I feel like Lebron Wade and Bosh can score with more efficiency and therefore be champions one more time. It’s all about D, we know that both teams can score, it comes down to who defends the most, and the Heat’s trio seems to be the toughest to defend not forgetting that both teams have excellent shooteers.

  12. ced says:

    I don’t understand why kendall gill give the point to heats for the bench … The spurs has the best bench of the league in quantity and quality .

    • Jay says:

      The Heat bench are a lot deeper and more experienced. Are you saying that De Colo, Joseph, Neal, Bonner, Ginobili is greater than Allen, Cole, Battier, Andersen and Miller? Yeah Manu may be better but overall the Heat bench is deeper and more experienced. I think the Spurs bench are quite unproven yet. Can they shine on the biggest stage of them all?

  13. Big Time says:

    I don’t think the Spurs have been battle tested enough in these playoffs. In the WC Finals, they played a team without a proven superstar who didn’t have enough offense in the tank (to close out the 2 OT games).

    I think Bosh will have a much bigger impact in this series because he won’t be guarding someone much taller (Hibbert) or stronger (West) than him, which will make him more efficient on offense and he’s always shot well against the Spurs.

    Spurs wont’ be able to guard the 3 pointer as well as India (who were 1st in 3-pt defense) and SA ranked 12th in that category this season.

    It just looks like Miami matches up very well against SA. Pacers was just a nightmare match up for them and they survived.

    Like Pippen said “they might have had the best team, but we had the best player”. Spurs might not have an answer for LBJ.

    Heat in 6.

    • Arturo says:

      The Heat have not been battle tested in the playoffs, against the Bucks they didn’t have a super star player that can change the outcome like a Tim Duncan or a Kevin Durant. Against Chicago they were missing 3 starters and they still lost 2 games to the bench players. The Spurs beat the # 1 Defense (Grizzlies) in 4 games. Miami beat #2 Defense in 7 games.

      Doesn’t look good for your team. Spurs in 5

  14. Stephen J says:

    Many critics have mistakenly underestimated the ability of the champions, when their backs are up against a wall, and perhaps, though granted, have overestimated the benefit of players that are healthy. I do not see much difference between this year’s Finals and the last years: though the Spurs may be veterans, we cannot forget that a year ago they lost four straight to a hungry, young Thunder team and were labeled as “getting older”. Not a huge fan of the Heat, but I see them winning in 6. It was to the dismay of anti-Heat fans, that the Pacers gave them such a fight, because now, like after last year’s Eastern Conference Game 7, they are awakened to play together, play defense, protect the boards, and as they always have played with – intensity and athletic youth.

  15. Mark R says:

    I’m a hardcore Spurs fan but I still give the Heat a good chance to win even with their trouble with the Pacers. I give Spurs 60% and Heat 40% chance of winning it all. Spurs are too consistant all around and Heat are having trouble with D-Wade plus Bosh, Duncan is playing unbelievable right now averaging doubles doubles over 35 years old. TP is playing at a MVP level and Spurs have bigs to throw against the weakness of the Heat. But the Heat still have Lebron, GOING TO BE AN AWESOME FINALS!