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Come June 5, the NBA will hold it’s first playoff final rematch since 1998. Last year, the Miami Heat were victorious over the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series, winning their second consecutive championship. Miami, gunning for a three-peat, hopes to once again come out on top.
The Heat, fresh off of a six-game series win over the Indiana Pacers, know that their overall performance must improve if they indeed wish to be successful against the Spurs. Slow start, streaky play and spotty defense cannot have any part of this matchup.
LeBron James, who struggled with his energy and finding his rhythm in the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals, must leave that bad habit in the past, and start off strong. Miami always seems to do better when they get to set the pace. Likewise, key components such as Chris Bosh must be present. Bosh, who was ineffective on both ends of the floor for the first half of the series against the Pacers, must do everything in his power to keep up the groove he found himself in, in Game 4. James and Dwyane Wade need the third wheel of their Big Three tricycle to maneuver their way past San Antonio.
With all that said however, defense will be the deciding factor. The Spurs, known for their depth and ball movement, will take it anything but easy on Miami. Left with a sour taste in their mouths, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the rest of the Texan-gang want their revenge. Although sticking to the fundamentals as usual, San Antonio has played stellar basketball this year. They came out of the regular season with the best record in the league, using a whopping 30 different lineups, lead by head coach Gregg Popovich who has guided the Spurs to six final appearances.
However, this is not to take anything away from the Heat, whose bench has outscored the opponents’ bench in 11 of 15 games during the postseason. Their record ties their best playoff start (from 2011) through 15 games in team history and head coach Erik Spoelstra is only the thirteenth NBA coach to win multiple titles.
Miami has tied 1-1 with San Antonio during the regular season and it is now time to see how they will fair during their postseason battle. Personally, my guess is the Heat in 7, but how do you all feel? Let me know via the poll, below!