The Spurs, with a little more experience and a better interior presence, have the slight edge in this pretty evenly matched series.
The Heat, though, will have home-court advantage. The series starts with two games in Miami before transitioning to San Antonio.
Here's a look at the 2013 NBA Finals schedule. Below that is a detailed breakdown of the series.
|San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat||1||Thursday, June 6||9 p.m. ET||
|San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat||2||Sunday, June 9||8 p.m. ET||
|Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs||3||Tuesday, June 11||9 p.m. ET||
|Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs||4||Thursday, June 13||9 p.m. ET||
|Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs||5*||Sunday, June 16||8 p.m. ET||
|San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat||6*|| |
Tuesday, June 18
|9 p.m. ET||
|San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat||7*||Thursday, June 20||9 p.m. ET||
* If necessary
Miami struggled against the length and power of the Indiana Pacers' frontcourt, and they will have the same problem with the Spurs.
Tim Duncan is averaging 17.8 points per game in the postseason, and Tiago Splitter has a solid all-around game.
While the Heat were able to use LeBron James effectively in the post against the Pacers, they won't be able to do so against the Spurs.
San Antonio's big men won't be the only matchup problem for the Heat.
Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole won't be able to handle Tony Parker, who is averaging 23 points per game and 7.3 assists in the playoffs.
As a result, James will have to guard Parker, which could neutralize the Frenchman's influence. That will leave more room open for Duncan and Splitter, for whom the Heat do not have an answer.
Will Bosh Find His Shooting Stroke?
Wade averaged just 15 points per game in the Eastern Conference Finals, and was clearly hampered by a weak knee. Bosh averaged 11 points per game in the series, and scored just 14 points total in the final two games.
Bosh struggled so mightily that he took to apologizing to his teammates, according to Tom Haberstroh of ESPN. He also admitted that his struggles are becoming difficult to handle, per Haberstroh:
It's hard, it's difficult...Everything you're going to do in the postseason is difficult. And you're going to be put in situations you don't want to be in and you're going to have to do things that you don't want to do. It's part of it, so you might as well get used to it, being miserable and really loving it.
Unless Bosh finds his shooting stroke, which would take Duncan and Splitter away from the basket, the Heat are in trouble.
Bosh shot just 37 percent from the field against the Pacers, down from his season average of 53 percent and his career average of 49 percent.
While James has been playing at a superhuman level once again, the Spurs' advantage in the post is something that even he can't neutralize.
With NBA Finals win, LeBron can become 3rd player in NBA history to win both MVPs and NBA titles in back-to-back seasons (Russell, Jordan)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 4, 2013
There is no doubt that James will have a terrific series. Without Wade and Bosh playing to their potential, however, James will revert back to playing like he did in his Cleveland days and try to do too much.
He admitted as much, as shown in this tweet from Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld:
LeBron James on his huge third quarter, when he had 16 points, 4 assists, 4 boards: "I just went back to my Cleveland days at that point."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 31, 2013
While that might allow the Heat to win a few games, it will ultimately end up being a repeat of the 2007 NBA Finals where the Spurs beat James' Cavs in just four games.
This series will be won by the Spurs unless either Bosh or Wade start playing better.
Until they do, however, the wise pick is the Spurs. Their interior presence and wealth of scoring options will give the Heat a lot of trouble.
Prediction: San Antonio wins series in six games