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.
What do you expect out of Game 7 on Thursday?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Call me a pessimist but I expect an anticlimax and possibly a Miami blowout. My best analogies come from baseball, from the Bill Buckner game in the 1986 World Series and the Chicago Cubs/Steve Bartman game in the 2003 NL playoffs. Both of those were Game 6, both of those packed an emotional wallop on the Red Sox and the Cubs, respectively, both of those were followed by relatively breezy victories, short on tension, for the Mets and the Marlins in Game 7. There wasn’t one particular goat for San Antonio, but the hollow look in Manu Ginboli‘s eyes suggested a game worth two defeats rather than one. Hope I’m wrong, of course.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Another very close, very competitive game that comes down to who makes the shots at crunch time. I picked the Spurs in six. Now they win in seven.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I expect one team to win the championship. Excuse me for being, um, trite, but who knows what will happen? The logical answer is to say that the Spurs suffered an insurmountable mental and physical blow in losing Game 6 as they did. But these are the resilient Spurs and no team has won two in a row in this series still, and the Heat haven’t won two straight since closing out Chicago in the second round and squeaking out Game 1 of the East finals against Indiana.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I have no idea, really. The Spurs are too good for us to assume that they’re done after the way they lost Game 6. And the Heat have obviously been a model of inconsistency, particularly on defense, for the last month. Anything can happen.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Complete chaos, pandemonium and a game worthy of the epic nature this series has taken on since Game 4 would be nice. Even though we’ve seen some blowouts, the drama has been at an all-time high in this series. I expect Game 7 to live up to that hype, at least in the sense of these two teams going toe-to-toe one last time to decide this thing. Game 1 was an ideal start, with a big shot from Tony Parker being the difference for the Spurs. An encore of Game 1 and Game 6 is the only fitting way for this series to end. I’ll even take another overtime thriller. The last Game 7 we saw in The Finals (Lakers-Celtics 2010) should serve as the ideal template for two battled-tested championship-caliber teams who dug into their reserves to muster the energy for an epic finish to a great series. We got great drama, a wild finish and the better team outlasting a game challenger. You can’t ask for anything more in the last and most important game of the 2012-13 season. And I suspect we’ll get something along those lines from the Heat and Spurs.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: It’s going to be nearly impossible to top Game 6. I was there in the press box as the game tightened down the stretch, and my ears were ringing afterward. Game 6 had storylines for days, and tension and so many head-shaking moments, that I don’t know how Game 7 will best that.
Adriano Albuquerque, NBA Brasil: After such an emotional and draining Game 6, obviously I expect the Spurs to be tired and showing their age. I expect the Heat to be pumped-up and full of swagger. I expect a game more like Games 2 through 5, when a team broke open the game in the third quarter and held on to win. And I expect to be wrong on every single one of those — again. This series has had so many “Forever is BIG” moments, that the only thing I really expect is one more of those.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: I expect the same mentality from LeBron James: the MVP will decide the game. Either he will lose it, or he will win it, as he tried to do in the last plays of the game, when he took all the shots for Miami. In Game 6 Ray Allen gave him a big help with that three from the corner and now it’s LBJ’s time to shine. I also expect the Spurs to be disappointed by the way the lost the previous game and I strongly believe that if the Heat take the early lead, they will blow them out.
Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: I expect the Heat to win with a double digit margin. The Spurs were so close that the ring were already forged. But the Heat showed some pride and took Game 6: they have the momentum now and I expect a big game from LeBron (with his headband on).