By: Cameron Rohde
1. Lebron James:
Its undeniable right now that Lebron James is the best basketball player in the world. He carried the Heat to the NBA Finals, receiving very little help from Bosh and Wade who combined averaged a pedestrian like 26 PPG, 11RPG. For comparison, Lebron himself averaged 29 PPG, 7 RPG. Lebron averaged these numbers going against arguably the best NBA defense in the Pacers (held opponents to 90.2 PPG). James was guarded by NBA All Defensive Second Team member Paul George and had to deal with the threat of Roy Hibbert on drives to the basket. Lebron however still put up monster numbers and should have a much easier time going against Kawhi Leonard the Spurs.
2. 2-3-2 Series Format:
The Heat this year are a combined 44-6 at home including the playoffs and have looked unbeatable at the American Airlines Arena. San Antonio has been a great road team in the playoffs only losing once against the Warriors. However, the two games they won against the Grizzlies were very close and could have gone to either team. The lower seed in the playoffs always has to steal one game on the road if they win all of their home games. The series format for the Finals is 2-3-2 as opposed to the 2-2-1-1-1 of every other round. This makes it much harder for the lower seed to win the series because it is much harder to win 3 home games in a row. This feat has only been done twice in NBA history (2004 Pistons, 2006 Heat) since the 2-3-2 format was installed in 1985. As a result the Spurs may have to win twice in Miami which is going to be incredibly difficult.
3. Chris Bosh:
As I previously mention Bosh was terrible against the Pacers, he didn’t rebound, missed open jumpers and couldn’t guard Roy Hibbert. Chris Bosh played games 5, 6 and 7 with a tweaked ankle and was even more useless after the injury occurred. The Heat didn’t quite have the layoff that the Spurs did but the two days off should still help Bosh’s ankle heal. Tim Duncan (1st Team NBA) is a much better player than Hibbert but will not have the same impact on Bosh that Hibbert had. Hibbert is a physical beast at 7’2, 278 and manhandled Bosh on the boards and in the post. Bosh will have a much easier time going against Duncan who is 30 pounds lighter, 2 inches shorter and is much more of finesse player than Hibbert. Bosh will not have to exert as much energy on the defensive end and as a result will be much more effective on the offensive end.
Ultimately the Finals come down to many different factors that can be extensively broken down pointing to why the Heat or Spurs will win. However I believe the dominance of Lebron James, the 2-3-2 series format and the reemergence of Chris Bosh are three factors that you can point to as why the Heat will take the series.
My Pick- Heat in 6