Blogtable: Alarm Bells For Heat, 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 33: LeBron’s play | What’s so surprising? | Alarm bells

What worries you if you’re a Spurs’ fan? A Heat fan?

Steve Aschburner, The first one’s simple: Tony Parker’s hamstring. It’s hard to envision them beating Miami two more times if they don’t have their MVP. It’s one thing for Neal and Cory Joseph to thrive out of the bullpen but if each moves up a mighty big notch on the depth chart, who’s to say they continue? On the Heat side, I’d be worried about San Antonio being plus-10 in free-throw attempts. No, not because of any conspiracy theory but because Miami is facing a team with players whose reputations are as big as their own. Any “star” calls likely will cut both ways. That’s an advantage for the Heat almost all the time, but it doesn’t appear it will be here.

Fran Blinebury, If I’m a San Antonio fan, the results of that MRI on Tony Parker’s hamstring. It will be very tough — if not impossible — sledding to close out the Heat if their best player can’t play at all, or even if he’s limited in his movement. If I’m a Heat fan, the fact that Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have not yet pulled their acts together in a single game, yet the Spurs have a 2-1 lead in the series.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comTony Parker’s hamstring makes me very nervous, although word from the San Antonio reporting crew suggests that his ailment during Game 3 was more of a cramping situation so that’s good news. Manu Ginobili’s continued struggling — both shooting the ball and turning it over — is a major concern. So far Danny Green and Gary Neal have bailed him out. For the Heat, my concern is simply LeBron. Is he going to assert his will and be the dominant force everyone wants him to be a la Jordan, or is the Spurs’ defense and the pressure to perform brilliantly each game as his supporting superstar cast wanes going to be too much?

John Schuhmann, NBA.comIf I’m a Spurs fan, I’m nervous about Tony Parker’s injury and LeBron James’ ability. Maybe James is fatigued (see his Finals shooting stats in my answer to the other question) or maybe he’s got a couple more huge games in him. And if I’m a Heat fan, I’m worried that nobody other than Mike Miller can shoot. When you’re not hitting shots, you become much easier to defend.

Sekou Smith, Simple. Tony Parker’s hamstring frightens me if I’m a San Antonio fan, because that means Manu Ginobili becomes the primary ballhandler far too often without TP in the mix. The Spurs are too close to title No. 5 for this to happen. The premise of finishing this series in five games has to be on your mind right now and that would be hard enough to do with a healthy Parker. It becomes nearly impossible with him wounded. If I’m a Miami fan, the ghosts of Dallas and The Finals from 2011 have to be on your mind. LeBron and Wade looking shaky like they did then doesn’t help you sleep any better at night. And the supporting cast, as valiant as they were in Miami, don’t operate independently from their stars the way the Spurs’ role players did in Game 3. So there is cause for concern right now for Heat fans.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: If I’m a San Antonio fan, I don’t think you can overlook that the Spurs shot 32 3-pointers in Game 3. That’s a Mike D’Antoni team, not a Gregg Popovich team. For a team that’s so reliant on Tim Duncan, they’ve gotten a combined 21 points in the last two games from him. Sure, they won one, but they have to figure out a way to get Timmy going. If I’m Miami, I worry not that the Spurs attempted 32 threes, but that they made 16 of them. Too often Green and Neal looked like they were in a 3-point shootout, firing up wide-open threes. The Heat have to improve their perimeter defense. Wonder if we’ll see a Battier appearance before long?

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: San Antonio fans are all worried about Tony Parker’s health. If he doesn’t play, or even if he doesn’t play up to his standards, it will be a great setback for the Spurs. They don’t have the depth in the point guard spot or many different solutions in terms of half-court creation if Parker is not 100 percent ready. Patty Mills has seen limited action from the floor and Cory Joseph has the energy, but not the experience to fill the Frenchman’s shoes. The Heat fans, on the other hand, should be worried about the fact that their big-Three aren’t clicking right now. They’re just not clicking right now, and have yet to showcase  their usual chemistry.

Karan Madhok, NBA IndiaIf I’m a San Antonio fan, I’m worried most about Tony Parker’s hamstring. He will have an MRI on Wednesday, and if it’s serious, than the Spurs have reason to panic. Duncan and the support crew can do a good job against lesser teams; but to win two more Finals games against the almighty Heat, they need Parker at full strength to keep their offense chugging. If I’m a Heat fan, I’m of course worried about LeBron’s passive play, but more about the prospects of Wade and Bosh. The ‘Big Three’ project can only work if all three play their role. Right now, Miami is a ‘Big One’, and even that one is playing below his high standards. Wade and Bosh have to step up — on both ends of the floor — to save Miami in these Finals.

Aldo Avinante, NBA PhilippinesIt would seem simple, but for the Spurs you have to be nervous that LeBron will find his groove and make things happen by attacking the basket. It would be scary for the Spurs, but right now, the Heat fans don’t know if the LeBron they’re accustomed to will ever show up in this series.


  1. benehow says:

    The Heat will not win if they do not attack the basket and the rim; they cannot stand beyond the perimeter line, and continue to shoot 3’s. They need to get to the free throw line. If the Spurs continue to hit 3’s; they will win the NBA Title. The Heat needs to win the next two games; the last in San Antonio, and game 6 in Miami. Lebron needs to dominate. I believe that Bosh, and James will leave the Heat if they do not win the title.

  2. Mary says:

    If I am a Spurs fan I am not nervous at all.
    If I am a Miami fan I am nervous, very nervous..

  3. john says:

    4-2 SPURS bet for it

  4. Spurs all-the-way says:

    Yeah that’s it Byron……Lebummer just needs his shooting sleeve…..that’ll do it.

  5. Ken says:

    Spurs shooting 3 the way they did, why not. Rule of thumb if its on its on don’t stop it. Green was 6/6 beyond the arc in game 2, or did they forget about that.. Spurs winning with there 3 not playing as great as you would hope. HEATs main problem is that the next 2 games are in San Antonio

    FUN FACT… in the last 3 years the team coming second ranked coming into the grand final won the series and did it by winning 1 of 2 of the first away game…

    It seems that the 2-3-2 format is actually an advantage for the second rank team. Heat did it last year also.

    Lebron is tired and so are the other 2, that is the advantage they had from a shortened season last year. less milage on those legs coming into the playoff. they struggled vs dallas the year before and now its showing here also.

    • Pep says:

      I totally agree…it was a tiring series with indiana and they appear to be the older team against the spurs…maybe a 9 day break can help the heat but we all know it not gonna happen…

  6. Arnoldphk says:

    The SPURS have a platoon of 3 point sharpshooters! Watch out for Matt Bonner in Game 4!

  7. me says:

    for the spurs, its about tp,s injury. for the heat its about their mentality, they seemed lost both on offense and on defense. their only bright moments of the series are last two quarters when the spurs made too many turnovers and missed shots. remember that during the first half of game2, james was having a hard time scoring, even blocked by leonard and green on a one-on-one.

  8. nbafan says:

    Spurs are great. Not worried about them at all. Parker may even get more rest tomorrow if they can continue and improve.

  9. What DId You Just Say? says:

    These writers are acting like there is nothing wrong about the Heat, that it is just LeBron and the reason why Spurs won is because LeBron is not being “himself”. GET OVER IT. LeBron has been dominated by Kawhi Leonard in case you haven’t noticed. Popovich have him all figured out. The problem with Heat defense is that it is OVER AGGRESIVE in traps. If your defense is like that, it opens up 3-pointers especially against the Spurs who thrive in spread offense. Plus, the Spurs always move the ball. If you can make the defense move, the more the defense commit mistakes. GET CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE. There is nothing wrong with the HEAT. They were just PLAIN AND SIMPLE, OUTPLAYED by a team who is so good in execution.

    P.S. Most of these writers are in denial. They can’t stand that the Spurs are up 2-1. Phew!

  10. Patty says:


  11. hipster says:

    LeOnard is LeOwning LeBron.

  12. Jon in Iowa says:

    In which Lang Whitaker reveals that he hasn’t watched a Spurs game since 2010.

  13. installerx says:

    If I’m a Spurs fan, i’d be afraid of Parker’s injury.

    If i’m a Heat fan, i’d be afraid of Matt Bonner playing better than Chris Bosh

  14. kcirsun says:

    A deeper concern is what is going on in the Miami locker room…does Spoelstra and the entire Heat coaching staff have a sort of control of its player? Miami, despite the timeouts called could not seem to make any adjustments. So it is either the coaching team is not prepared or the players do not follow what the coach is saying. Yes this series relies on how Lebron will play but if the coaches could not even sit him out and let the others play, there is some serious problem here. Yes you red it right, sit Lebron if he is not playing well during the course of the game. That is what coaches do right? I am pretty sure that Pops will not keep his star players in if they are not playing well – that is if winning the game is the concern and not giving stars the playing time even if they fail to perform as “stars”.

  15. jb says:

    Worries re Spurs; not maintaining their defensive focus; relying too much on 3 pointers. I hate to admit it, because Manu is so great; but he is comimitting a lot of turnovers and hasn’t found his offensive groove. Lastly, that LeBron is going to wake up.
    Worries re Miami; they are not playing well (outside of Game 2); having defensive and offensive difficulties. I attribute that to the Spurs defense wearing them down mentally and physically. Uncertain they can overcome it. The Spurs just keep punching; I don’t think Miami is accustomed to that.

  16. Ralph says:

    I really hate the concept of ‘star’ calls. Always have. Detracts from the integrity of the game. A foul is a foul. And stars are already supposedly better than their opponents, so why do they get the extra benefit of star calls?

  17. Byron says:

    If I were the Heat I would try to stop the Spurs whole team because the spurs starters are good and their bench is good. And I also think that LeBron should wear his shooting sleeve because he won a championship with it and when he didnt have it on against the mavericks he lost. I dont no if anyone notices butt he plays better with a shooting sleeve. For example when the heat swep the bucks he played with his shooting sleeve on and was dominating.

  18. ac says:

    I think if you’re Miami, you should be most concerned with your offense in general, not specifically with one player. Even though everything flows through Lebron, throughout the entire playoffs the Heat’s typical fluidity on offense has been pretty sporadic. Its terrific one game, mediocre the next, etc.

    For San Antonio, obviously Parker will play but the question is how effective he will be. He didn’t need to last night, but I wouldn’t expect San Antonio to shoot lights out like that again.