Each team plots a different path to the paint, but slipping inside those lines is the desired result for either side. It's not the paint steps themselves that key those attacks, but rather the chain reactions set off by those ventures.
These are never-settle offenses. No teams better understand the importance of patiently passing up good shots to hunt for great ones than these two.
The Heat have unleashed a wildly efficient offensive attack on their playoff foes, pacing all postseason clubs by scoring at a blistering rate of 113.7 points per 100 possessions, via NBA.com. Only one other team has managed better than 110 per 100 trips: the Spurs, who have tossed in 111.2.
Both Miami and San Antonio put a premium on collapsing a defense.
Nearly 10 percent of the offensive plays the Heat finished this season (ending with a shot, foul or turnover) were isolations, via Synergy Sports (subscription required). Miami converted those sets at a rate of 0.94, third-best in the NBA.
If LeBron James hits the paint with a full head of steam, there's no good way to stop the 6'8", 250-pound freight train. That's why San Antonio will look to keep those drives from ever starting, hounding James with a long, physical defender like Kawhi Leonard and supporting the swingman with four extra sets of eyes.
"Leonard will have the assignment of defending James, but the entire Spurs defense will be focused on him," NBA.com's John Schuhmann and Sekou Smith noted. "Leonard will go under screens and sag off James on the perimeter, trying to entice him to shoot jumpers."
It's more damage control than prevention, but that's the case whenever a future Hall of Famer is on the floor.
As for the Spurs' offense, their pick-and-roll ball-handlers finished 16.9 percent of their offensive plays while roll men ended another 6.4 percent.
Players like Parker, Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills explode around screens with countless options at their disposal. They might result in kick-outs to open shooters or passes to a popping big, but the guards will look for high-percentage plays first: strong drives to the basket or dump downs to a crashing big.
These teams enter this series ranked in the top-two spots of restricted area shooting in the playoffs (Miami first at 69.9 percent, San Antonio second at 64.3 percent), via NBA.com. Those numbers could conceivably increase given the lack of intimidating rim protectors within their ranks.
If either team experiences any leaks on the perimeter, they could encounter major flood damage in the middle.