NBA Finals 2013: Under-the-Radar Players Who Will Take Over Game 6
The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from beating the Miami Heat and taking the NBA Finals.
The blowout and unsung hero have characterized this series. Danny Green and Gary Neal have emerged as the stars of the NBA Finals and are the reasons the Spurs have the Heat on the ropes.
With Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, let's take a look at some under-the-radar players who will take over the game.
To this point in the series, Splitter is known for getting his dunk blocked emphatically by LeBron James. Game 6 can change that.
As the series shifts to Miami, Splitter will have a chance for redemption.
The 6'11'' center has seen his scoring drop about four points per game from the regular season to postseason. Depending on how the Heat shake up their lineup though, Splitter may be able to dominate the paint.
It is uncertain what Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will change for Game 6.
If the Heat need scoring early on, they might go small. That isn't to say Chris Bosh will be put on the bench, but he might get moved around.
If Splitter finds himself not guarded by Bosh, the Spurs should feed him the ball and let him go to work.
Splitter is a strong finisher around the rim. If he can get some clear looks in Game 6, he can dominate the paint.
As San Antonio's small forward, Leonard has had the pleasure of guarding LeBron James in the NBA Finals.
He's done a fantastic job doing so, limiting James to less than 19 points in the first three games of the series.
While LeBron has been heating up since, Leonard is still playing good basketball.
The second—year forward out of San Diego Sate has downplayed his success in the Finals saying, "I’m studying my team concepts and just buying into our game plan. That’s all I’m doing. Playing hard.”
Leonard can take over Game 6 not on the offensive end but on the defensive end.
If he can control LeBron's scoring, the Spurs will win their fifth title.
Chalmers has had an incredibly up-and-down postseason.
He has the ability to drop upwards of 20 points, but he can also lay an egg and put up nothing. He has done both of those in the NBA Finals.
SI.com's Chris Mannix says Chalmers' career has been characterized by this inconsistency:
Chalmers has always been something of an enigma. He tantalizes you with a scoring outburst one day (19 points in Game 2) and makes you slap your head in frustration the next. He was a starter his first year, a reserve for most of his next two and a starter again for the last two seasons. Spoelstra had issues with Chalmers' attitude and inconsistent play early in the Big Three era and each of Miami's stars has taken a turn publicly berating Chalmers for one thing or another.
Another thing Chalmers needs to work on is limiting his turnovers. He has turned the ball over 10 times over the last three games.
The Heat will need someone else other than the big three to step up in order to win Game 6. Chalmers can be that guy.
The last time the Heat played in Miami, Chalmers scored 19 points on 50 percent shooting. He also didn't turn the ball over in that game.
That is the kind of effort the Heat need out of him in Game 6 if they want to force a Game 7.
Miller has been in the starting lineup for the past two games. While coach Spoelstra has yet to announce his starting lineup for Game 6, Miller will definitely get a chance to make an impact.
The reason Miller got into the starting lineup in the first place was because he was one of the only Heat players scoring consistently. He also allowed Miami to spread the floor more.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports says putting Miller in the starting lineup was smart:
Miller gave the Heat a boost in the first three games of the series, making nine of 10 three-pointers. Spoelstra put him in the starting lineup for Game 4 after the Heat lost, and Miller drew enough attention on the perimeter, making room for James, Wade and Bosh inside and the Heat won.
Miller was the deciding factor last year in the Heat's NBA Finals—clinching win. The 12-year veteran scored 23 points in Miami's Game 5 victory.
In Game 6 against the Spurs, Miller needs to recreate that magic.
If he can get hot from beyond the arc, Miami will be able to spread the floor and can force a Game 7.
All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from ESPN.com.
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