Heat vs. Spurs: 5 Reasons You Can't Miss the 2013 NBA Finals
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For fans of 28 teams, the NBA season has come to a close. The focus now shifts to the draft and free agency. However, with the NBA Finals officially set, there are plenty of reasons for the casual fan to stick around.
For fans of the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, the reason to watch is obvious. Supremacy is up for grabs, and a championship parade awaits pending a successful run to the finish line.
But for the rest, don’t give up watching just yet. You’ve invested seven months to get to this point, and the quality of basketball should only improve when the championship tips off June 6.
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The NBA is a star-driven league. The casual fan may not know the various defensive schemes each team uses, but the faces on the floor are a whole different story.
For the Miami Heat, it all starts with LeBron James. He’s been the league’s MVP three out of the past four years, and he’s the epitome of what a superstar is in today’s game.
Behind James, you have two players—three if you include 10-time All-Star Ray Allen—who are stars in their own right. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade haven’t been acting like superstars during much of the postseason, but they still have a track record of success.
The Big Three of the Heat has received more attention than any other group since forming in 2010, but don’t ignore the original Big Three from the San Antonio Spurs. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili make this a loaded series.
LeBron James' Legacy Versus Tim Duncan's Legacy
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LeBron James is in the prime of his career, and he’s looking for his second championship in as many seasons. Tim Duncan is in the twilight of his career, and he’s looking to add a fifth championship to his Hall of Fame resume.
The two players are at different stages in their playing days, but there’s no question how much they’ve influenced the game up to this point.
Duncan is arguably the best power forward of all time, while James is doing everything in his power to eclipse Michael Jordan as the greatest ever. They’re two dominant forces who impact both sides of the floor, and they can both get it done with a game on the line.
Don't forget, these two stars have faced off in the finals before. In 2007, the San Antonio Spurs took down the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 4-0 sweep, giving James the chance to exact his revenge in 2013.
The Spurs Are Not Boring
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The San Antonio Spurs have gotten a bad rap over the years. They’ve never been the most athletic group, and defense has typically taken priority over high-scoring, "exciting" offense.
That said, if you think Gregg Popovich’s crew is boring, you must not enjoy winning.
Tim Duncan may be known as “The Big Fundamental,” but his ability to impact a game should more than intrigue any true fan. Tony Parker doesn’t have the athleticism of today’s new-age point guards, but he’s as crafty as it comes, and he's able to navigate his way to the rim with ease.
As this team has gotten older, the sentiment has been that they've gotten less exciting. However, the organization has been smart enough to add depth, which has given them enough youth and three-point shooting to get the job done.
The Spurs aren’t the Miami Heat, but they’re going to put on a show worth watching in the NBA Finals.
Offense and Defense Both Win Championships
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The old cliché says that defense wins championships. Nobody is going to claim it to be untrue in 2013, but this series should be one that features a nice blend of both scoring and stops along the way.
The Spurs have been known for a while now as a defensive crew. Gregg Popovich has instilled a ball-stopper's mentality throughout his time in San Antonio. You can’t ignore, however, that they’ve become a major threat on offense as well.
During the regular season, they were fourth in points per game, and during the playoffs, they’ve shot the second-highest percentage from the three-point line.
Miami is going to bring a similar two-way approach. During the postseason, it has been the third-best three-point shooting team, and it has been second in points per game allowed.
Both teams show balance between offense and defense, which is all you can ask for in the NBA Finals.
The Battle of the Dynasties
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Upon arriving in South Beach, LeBron James famously announced his desire to win multiple championships—not six, not seven, etc. With this, his third finals appearance in three seasons, he’s well on his way to making the Miami Heat the game’s next great dynasty.
The San Antonio Spurs, seemingly near the end of their historic run, are one of the most accomplished teams in recent memory. Nobody can question their success, as a series defeat over Miami would give them their fifth title since the 1998-99 season.
To say that this matchup is a battle of the past versus the future is unfair. They’re both what’s great about present-day basketball, as evidenced by their progression to the championship round.
Each team has greatness within its organization, and if watching legends do battle is what playoff basketball is about, this series shouldn’t disappoint.