NBA Finals 2013: Previewing the Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers Dream Matchup
This could be the year.
If this dream matchup becomes reality, though, how will it play out?
Years after this epic battle, what will the basketball world remember as the key reasons for the winner’s success.
1. Can Chris Bosh Guard Dwight Howard 1-on-1?
The Lakers’ game plan starts with the tactical advantage they have in Dwight Howard.
He is the most dominant center in the game and a rare specimen at his position.
They will press this advantage right from the beginning of game one. Either Chris Bosh will hold his ground and defend him, or the Heat will resort to fouling and double-teaming him.
If the latter happens, Miami will be in trouble.
Dwight Howard will provide 20+ points with high efficiency and slow down the game’s pace to neutralize Miami’s transition offense.
2. Will Miami’s Shooters Provide Cover Fire for LeBron?
Miami’s offense will run through LeBron James.
He will be all over the court attacking the Lakers in all sorts of ways, so expect LA to send double-teams. This will create open shots for Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and etc...
LeBron James is at a level of confidence now where he is unlikely to “choke” again in the finals. Therefore, the Lakers defensive strategy will be to stop everyone else.
If the shooters are on target and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh contribute their fair share, the Lakers may be simply outgunned.
Otherwise, the Lakers will swarm, smother and neutralize LeBron.
3. Who Will Win Best Supporting Actor?
Basketball is a game of heroics.
Its nature allows individual performances to have game-changing impacts. LeBron and Kobe will definitely be the main heroes/villains (whichever way you decide) in this story.
The question remains, though, as to which player will emerge from the background and provide the cliffhanger.
In the deciding game(s), Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Ray Allen and others will have the potential to be game-changers.
Expect many of these players to play well, but only one or two will have a legendary performance capable of deciding the outcome.
4. Speed vs. Size? Small-Ball vs. Big-Ball?
Miami and LA represent two different breeds of basketball.
Miami is fast, athletic and has two of the greatest players in the game today. Miami plays a full-court game and suffocates their opponent’s offensive rhythm.
LA is experienced and possesses a roster which includes arguably the best passer, best closer, best defensive player and most versatile big-man in the game. LA will play to precision in the half court and can out-muscle opposing teams on defense.
This matchup will be a chess match in the first, second and third quarters.
Miami will attempt to suffocate LA’s offense and get out and run.
LA will try to run offensive sets to perfection and utilize individual mismatches in the paint.
The duel of the two coaches will be an interesting one, for when talents are cunning and wit are often determining factors.
5. Who’s Better: Kobe or LeBron?
The end to this article, while cliché, is nevertheless true.
The series will boil down to which player performs in the fourth quarter, especially in the last two minutes.
Two of the games greatest players will use all their energy, skill and intelligence in this series.
The winner may very well be determined by an extraordinary performance, which will leave the entire world of sports in wonder.
Kobe will be the aging and proven superstar who wants to drop LeBron from the, “Is anyone as good as Michael Jordan debate.”
LeBron wants to create a dynasty and blanket the next decade in Miami Heat championships.
Maybe, just maybe, this great finals story will come true.