Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs had a fairly smooth road to the Finals, sweeping the undermanned and chemistry-impoverished Lakers in the first round, impressively beating a hot Golden State team in the second round in six contests, and sweeping a Memphis Grizzlies team that saw their well of offensive production run dry in the Western Conference Finals. For the Miami Heat, things were equally easy until, well, they weren’t. After sweeping the punchless Bucks and beating a very injured Bulls team in five games, the Heat received a hell of a test from Indiana in the Eastern Finals. Led by brilliant young superstar Paul George, the big and bruising Pacers pushed Miami to last night’s seventh game in the series. In game seven, Lebron James had a typically tremendous performance and the Heat smothered the Pacers to earn a resounding win. Also helping Miami’s cause as they won the deciding game was Dwyane Wade. Wade, who has been very mediocre in the playoffs, poured in 21 points, pulled in a handful of offensive rebounds, and silenced some of the critics that had grown loud during Wade’s extended postseason slump. As soon as it became clear that Miami had the game with Indiana locked up, I began to try and work out which team I was going to pick to win the Finals. My immediate reaction, especially after watching Miami play so well, was to take the Heat. But, then I thought back to how good the Spurs have been all playoffs long, rolling by overmatched opponents with such ease. There’s no question that it is a tough series to call. Tony Parker is on a roll for San Antonio, Tim Duncan has been great, and Kawhi Leonard has been so tough lately. On the other hand, the Heat still have Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, even if Bosh and Wade have been less than amazing lately. I think this is going to be a long series. And, as much as I love the Spurs, I feel it would be foolish to pick against King James. I believe that the one guy Miami will need to get more from is Chris Bosh. As much as people talked about Wade’s struggles against Indiana, it is Bosh who will need to produce in the Finals. Bosh basically no-showed the Eastern Finals, averaging 4.3 rebounds per game (wtf) and failing to get to double digit points in the four final games of the series. He has to be better. In the end, I think Bosh will reappear at some point, the series will go to seven games, and Lebron will bring a second consecutive championship to Miami. I mean, they call him the King for a reason.
Pick: Heat in 7