Basketball is a team game and doing a position-by-position breakdown of a matchup between two teams is, in my opinion, a little bit silly… But, I’m a silly guy, so I decided to do one anyway. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it:
(For my actual pick for the series go here.)
Point Guard: Mario Chalmers vs. Tony Parker
Here we have a superb magician who has been playing like an MVP all postseason in Parker. He will be going against a role player with a deft touch from long range in Chalmers. Obviously, the advantage here goes to San Antonio. On another note, while Parker was raised in France, the Wikipedia machine tells me that he was born in Bruges*.
Advantage: The Smelly Frenchman (I mean he is probably smelly when he’s playing basketball, right???)
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade vs. Danny Green
For much of the series, the struggling Wade will be matched up with another unhealthy, possibly over-the-hill star who has kinda sucked in the playoffs this year, Manu Ginobili. But, it is Danny Green who will start at the 2 for the Spurs and play the most minutes at that position. Having watched Green going back to his days at UNC, I must confess I’m a bit surprised at how far he has come. The guy can really shoot and has done a great job of rounding out the rest of his game. He will give you pretty consistent sharp shooting from the perimeter. Wade won’t give you consistent anything, at least in his current hobbled state, but he still is frighteningly dangerous. His 21 point performance against Indiana is a very positive sign, but nobody knows exactly what Miami will get from Wade. Whatever Dwyane winds up providing, whether it’s 13 points a night or 23 a night, he will almost certainly have the advantage over Green.
Advantage: Wade, who may or may not be on steroids, but my irrational Wade/roid theory is something for another post (MAYBE…don’t get your hopes up)
Small Forward: Lebron James vs. Kawhi Leonard
While it might be said that only Lebron can stop Lebron, Kawhi is an animal and will give his all to slow down the best basketball player on earth. If Leonard, who will get plenty of help from his teammates, can actually give the King some problems, that would be absolutely enormous for the Spurs.
Advantage: Lebron James
Power Forward: Udonis Haslem vs. Tiago Splitter
Haslem has stepped up in the playoffs, knocking in a shocking number of mid-range Js for a guy who only scored four per game in the regular season. That said, he probably won’t be much of a factor in this series. Neither will Splitter, who can get rebounds and putbacks but isn’t a huge part of what the Spurs do. Splitter is probably the slightly more dangerous of the two players, at least offensively, but they should basically cancel each other out.
Center: Chris Bosh vs. Tim Duncan
This could be the matchup that determines the series. I say that not because I think that Bosh needs to outplay Duncan, or even play him even, but he does have to keep it somewhat close. Timmy D(not to be confused with Timmy B, your favorite blogger) was pure gold against Memphis in the Western Finals, and continues to dominate despite the fact that his theoretical expiration date as an NBA player was likely somewhere around 11/11/11 (MAKE A WISH!). Bosh, who is eight years Duncan’s junior, meanwhile was pitiful in the Eastern Finals. So bad, in fact, that over 40% of his scoring in the final four games of the series came from beyond the arc (point being, he was an absolute non-factor offensively). He stunk, and he will have to step up against the Spurs and Duncan.
Advantage: Timmy D
Bench: Heat vs. Spurs
Miami’s bench is pretty good, highlighted by Sugar, ahem, Traitor Ray Allen and Norris Cole, but the Spurs’ bench is even better. They’ve got a bunch of shooters (Manu, Neal, Bonner), some serviceable bigs (Boris Diaw and DeJuan Blair), and even T-Mac, who might not play in the series, but should offer high quality cheerleading from the sideline.
*Bruges is the setting for one of the greatest, funniest, and most profanity-ridden films ever made, the appropriately named In Bruges. If you like violent movies and haven’t seen it, I’m really not sure what you’re waiting for: GO ORDER IT! Once you have seen it, then, and only then, do you have my permission to die (or something).