Where do LeBron James and the Heat go from here? They were just blown out of the NBA Finals while they were seeking their 3-peat. All of the Spurs wins in the Finals were by 15+ points and they manhandled the Heat on both sides of the court. Credit is due to the Spurs on how lights out they played, and Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker were simply the better “Big 3”. With all that being said, all eyes are now on the 2nd place team and how they will react to this beating.
First off, it’s time to address whether or not LeBron is staying or leaving. With a loss in these Finals, some basketball “geniuses” think that LeBron will leave for Cleveland or some other team. What does Cleveland have to offer that Miami can’t offer as well? Why did LeBron leave Cleveland in the first place? If LeBron were to choose to leave Miami, Cleveland doesn’t seem to make much sense. He plans to go on vacation with his family to discuss what he will do with his contract however, so everything is still very much in the air.
Now the Miami Heat organization on the other hand has plenty of work to do. The Heat’s one big weakness was exploited heavily by the Spurs, which is that the Heat aren’t balanced whatsoever and they struggled against balanced teams like the Spurs. In Game 3 Chris Bosh only touched the ball on offense 13 times. A member of the Big 3 can’t touch the ball only 13 times and still expect to win. The Heat in the off season need to add several pieces to their bench to help keep the offensive and defensive ends in check while LeBron heals up from his cramps. Shane Battier declared his retirement after Game 5 and he was a huge leader off the bench which means the Heat have a long and difficult road ahead of them to rectify their weaknesses.
From a bigger picture standpoint, the Heat need to lose or upgrade a member of their Big 3. It makes sense to keep LeBron there obviously because he’s the best player in the world. The Heat almost always lose when Chris Bosh doesn’t get a sufficient amount of touches on offense, which means that Bosh adds that final push they need over most teams. Wade shows up in the big games and still has the ability to explode on offense. All three have their weaknesses as well though: LeBron causes most players to just stand around and watch what he does, Bosh can be inconsistent, and Wade has struggled heavily with his health. Whoever the Heat choose to drop or upgrade, they have to make several changes if they want to be back on top of the NBA mountain.
There are an unbelievable amount of people in this world who wish they had second chances for key points in their lives and careers. Billy Buckner wishes he had one last shot at that grounder, Steve Bartman wishes he just sat there in peace listening to his music at Wrigley Field in the fall of 2003, and the Spurs wish they had another shot at the Heat for the NBA Finals. The Spurs are the lucky ones in that group because they get a second shot at dethroning the Heat after last year’s blunder.
Last year the Spurs held a 3-2 series lead in Game 6, led by 5 points with 25 seconds left in regulation, and lost the game in OT. With victory snatched from their clutches, there just seemed no air in their sails for Game 7. On the other sideline, the Heat were given new life by their Game 6 antics and went on to snag their second championship in 2 years. But with a 3-peat looming on the horizon, the Spurs have been given the opportunity of a lifetime: avenge their Finals performance from a year ago.
Of all the teams in the NBA, the Spurs have the best chance to defeat the Heat. The Spurs have a bad taste in their mouths from last year and are looking stronger than ever. They have an even more balanced attack than last year, and that’s what stumps the Heat more than anything. When the Spurs make a substitution, the next man up has every ability to score as the last guy. With the veteran leadership of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker for the starters and Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw leading the bench mob, the Spurs will be more than ready and focused on stopping the Heat’s run for a 3-peat.
The Heat on the other hand have been on a role. Granted they haven’t had as tough a road as the Spurs, but with the Big 3 it’s hard to not make things look easy. But the Heat have shown that they struggle against the balanced offense of the Spurs. Danny Green, Marco Bellinelli, and the Spurs Sharpshooters launch away (and make a darn good portion of) three pointer after three pointer and the Heat are forced to adjust to it. That then allows driving lanes to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and the Heat have to then worry about keeping up with the speedy and crafty guards. With all of that going on, it finally allows Tim Duncan, Thiago Splitter, and Boris Diaw to set up down low and exploit the Heat’s lack of size.
With such a balanced attack on offense, a disciplined defense, and a hunger that rivals wolves focused on their prey, the Spurs will come out on top and win the series 4-2 and be crowned the 2014 NBA Champions.
Pacers vs. Heat: In a rematch of last years intense conference finals, neither team is as good as they were last year. The Pacers have a record of 14-14 in their last 28 games and have struggled to beat the weakest teams in the NBA. Last year they prided themselves on team chemistry while this year they are trying to rediscover who they are as a squad. The Heat lost much of their bench scoring and they are starting to rely too heavily on LeBron. Last year’s series went to 7 games, but this year it won’t be down to the wire. The Pacers will be able to make it interesting in some games, but they are too inconsistent at the moment to be a serious threat and the Heat will win the series 4-2.
Thunder vs. Spurs: This series will be much more tightly contested than the Eastern Conference series. Both the Spurs and the Thunder know each other well and have been rolling lately. The Thunder however lost Serge Ibaka for the rest of the postseason due to a knee injury suffered in their last series against the Clippers. The loss of Ibaka will seriously hinder the Thunder against the size of the Spurs. The Spurs will come out on top to win the series 4-3 and they have the best chance out of either team to dethrone King James and the Miami Heat.
Pacers vs. Hawks: Pacers win series 4-1
Bulls vs. Wizards: Bulls win series 4-2
Raptors vs. Nets: Nets win series 4-3
Heat vs. Bobcats: Heat win series 4-0
Pacers vs. Bulls: Pacers win series 4-3
Heat vs. Nets: Heat win 4-2
Pacers vs. Heat: Heat win 4-3
Spurs vs. Mavericks: Spurs win series 4-2
Rockets vs. Trailblazers: Trailblazers win series 4-3
Clippers vs. Warriors: Clippers win series 4-3
Thunder vs. Grizzlies: Thunder win series 4-1
Spurs vs. Trailblazers: Spurs win series 4-2
Thunder vs. Clippers: Clippers win series 4-3
Spurs vs. Clippers: Spurs win series 4-3
Spurs vs. Heat: In a re-match of last years finals, the Spurs come in looking like the better team. The Spurs will be trying to make up for their miscues in the Finals from last year where they had the championship all but locked up when they let the Heat come back and win it all. Veteran leaders Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will not let that happen again as the Spurs win the 2014 NBA Finals 4-2