It shouldn’t be a surprise that the 2013 NBA Finals are going to come down to a Game 7.
The Spurs and Heat were the NBA’s two best teams during the regular season, but now their seasons come down to 48 minutes. These matchups will decide who walks away with a piece of history and who gets nothing.
Tony Parker vs. LeBron James
This one is relatively simple. Who will be the best player on the floor? We’ve seen LeBron be passive for almost entire games, and we’ve seen Parker’s hamstring limit his aggression.
It doesn’t sound like LeBron will be passive though. He was quoted after the game as saying Game 7 will be “one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game, of my life.” That doesn’t sound like a man ready to take a back seat.
And Parker’s hamstring? He said it could tear at any time back before Game 5, and sounded rather grim about it. But with one game left and his season on the line, I highly doubt this three-time NBA champ will let that hammy get the best of him.
Both have had huge games in this series, both have had duds. But these are the two guys who make their teams go. Yes, role players will play a part. But if Parker can best LeBron or vice versa in Game 7, that will be immeasurably valuable.
Chris Bosh vs. Tim Duncan
These two guys are the anchors of their respective defenses. Wait, huh? Chris Bosh can’t be an anchor. I mean, Duncan makes sense, but Bosh?
When the Heat have been playing at their top gear, Bosh has been doing his best Roy Hibbert impersonation. He’s been patrolling the paint, blocking the occasional shot, and most of all protecting the rim. It’s a development nobody saw coming.
Duncan doesn’t need much of an explanation. A top-10 player of all time, he was voted second team all-defense this year at age 37. And he's been a first-team all-defense selection eight times.
In fact, Duncan’s play prompted NBA legend Bill Russell to tell USA Today, “He has the same kinds of skills (as me). He creates problems for the other team on both offense and defense.” Now that’s some high praise.
To be clear, these are supporting cast members. But Parker and LeBron can’t win Game 7 as one-man shows. LeBron needs Bosh’s defense and post finishes, and Parker sure could use another 30-point, 17-rebound game from Duncan.
Miami Shooters vs. San Antonio Shooters
This’ll be short and simple. This series has been marked by role player contributions. Whether it be Ray Allen’s three to tie Game 6 (Spurs fans look away), Gary Neal exploding in Game 3, Mike Miller hitting a three without a shoe or Danny Green making the most threes in an NBA Finals. Whose shooters will be hitting come Game 7?
LeBron needs guys to dish to. Duncan, Parker and the Spurs love to swing the ball around the perimeter to find open guys. But neither of those tactics will be effective if the shooters don’t come out to play.
Danny Green says he’s been getting lucky. In Game 7, I don’t think anyone will care if it’s all luck.