2013 NBA Finals Preview & Schedule — Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs
The Miami Heat will face the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals, with the best-of-seven championship series beginning on Thursday in Miami.
The defending-champion Heat advanced to their third straight NBA Finals by sweeping Milwaukee, topping Chicago, 4-1, and edging Indiana, 4-3. The Spurs arrived at their first NBA Finals since 2007 by sweeping the Lakers, beating Golden State, 4-2, and sweeping Memphis. The Heat won both matchups with the Spurs during the regular season. Here are three ways each team can win the 2013 NBA Finals:
Three Ways Miami Can Win the 2013 NBA Finals
Keep the Ball Moving: The Heat excel when they are moving the basketball quickly, whether on the break or in a half-court set. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are difficult to shut down when the ball moves around. San Antonio simply doesn't have the speed or depth to run with Miami.
Defend the Three: The Heat packed down the defense on Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, and they dominated the Bulls and the Bucks in earlier rounds. Miami hasn't had to defend a team with as many perimeter weapons as the Spurs have, though. The Heat must get out on shooters like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and Matt Bonner or they could fall behind quickly.
Give LeBron Help: Other than their dominant first half in Game 3 against the Pacers, the Heat offense was unsteady until Game 7. Wade and Chris Bosh disappeared at times, and guard Ray Allen and forward Udonis Haslem were inconsistent. LeBron James can win one game almost by himself, but he can't win four of them alone against the veteran Spurs.
Three Ways San Antonio Can Win the 2013 NBA Finals
Let Tony Parker Create: Spurs point guard Tony Parker creates the most glaring mismatch against the Heat. Miami's Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers could struggle to stop Parker, which means other Heat players will have to leave their men to help guard him. Parker and Manu Ginobili must continue to make the right passes when the Miami pressure comes at them.
Shoot the Three: With shooters like Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and Matt Bonner, the Spurs have plenty of weapons. Their aim must be true to draw Miami away from center Tim Duncan. The more space San Antonio's talented big man has, the more he can pick-and-roll, rebound, pass and score.
Clean the Glass: The Spurs must find a way to combat Miami's front-court depth of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem. Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter will help defend, but they aren't physical. If San Antonio is badly out-rebounded, they will struggle to win this series.
2013 NBA Finals Schedule
Game 1: at Miami, Thurs., June 6, 9 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Game 2: at Miami, Sun., June 9, 8 p.m.(ET) on ABC
Game 3: at San Antonio, Tues., June 11, 9 p.m.(ET) on ABC
Game 4: at San Antonio, Thurs., June 13, 9 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Game 5: at San Antonio, Sun., June 16, 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Game 6: at Miami, Tues., June 18, 9 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Game 7: at Miami, Thurs., June 20, 9 p.m. (ET) on ABC