The Miami Heat ran off 27 games in a row in the regular season, made short work of the Bucks and Bulls in their first two rounds in the postseason but against the Pacers, they looked mortal until Game 7 of the East Finals where they reminded the NBA they still are the defending champs.
And now the San Antonio Spurs will get their shot at dethroning the champs.
Heading into the Finals, the Spurs are not the favorites but if San Antonio wants to extinguish the Heat, they will have to play a perfect series and keep in mind, Miami is mortal according to Manu Ginobili.
In his column for Argentine site Canchellena.com Manu notes the Spurs are not the favorites but sees the Heat as beatable.
I cannot say that Miami is the toughest opponent of all that we face in the playoffs, what I can say is this is the first time that we are not favorites. It is not impossible to beat Miami, but it is clear that they come with a lot of energy. In the regular season they won 27 games in a row, they have the best player in the world, and they have the home court advantage, which is not decisive but important. In my three previous finals, that winning at home, we knew it be enough to be champion. Not now. One in any series you want to get a game on the road. Here the same, but the end is a very different series with that of the 2-3-2 format. It becomes important to win one of the first two. Otherwise, we run out of chances and we have to win all three at home.
Indiana proved Miami can be beat but unlike the Pacers, the Spurs will have to minimize mistakes on the court and not cough the ball up as much as Indiana did. If Indiana did, the heat may not be here right now.
Indiana had many turnovers in Game 7 and paid for it. If you do, you can not get down, and you have to refocus. If you turnover it once, you can move, but more than that, no more. Three turnovers in four minutes and take 10 point lead. If you lose 20 balls in a game, as Indiana, you do not have any chance.
Of course LeBron James will be the focal point of the Heat's attack and like time and history has shown, no one person or team can effectively shut him down. No team has an answer for him and Manu knows it.
If you are thinking how do you stop LeBron, there's no such thing. When you're thinking about him, about Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant, those kind of players, what we can try is limiting them, make them miss more shots than any other game. We need to make him play out of his comfort zone. The one on one game there's not a lot you can do. He's unstoppable, he just goes right over you because his size. In pick and roll we need to help a lot, because we need to defend too. If the ball is pitched out, we have to close out because they have good shooters, like Ray Allen, Mike Miller and even Shane Battier.
So what do you think Spurs fans? Is Miami beatable? Let us know.
I think the Spurs are favorites because of the depth of the bench. Coach Pop can field a huge combination of players. No other team can do this like the Spurs. It's true, LeBron James is talented beyond belief but he is also a
greed showboater, self-centered and emotionally immature. He can be forced to foul out or to come scarily close to it.
You're wrong MANU... You guys are the FAVORITE to win this SERIES!!! You are part of the REAL BIG 3 I have ever seen...
The Pacers may have had the brute strength, bigger front court and toughness to hang with Miami, but what the Spurs have over Indiana is, on the whole, a way more efficient offense, players with higher basketball IQ's, a more genius head coach, and tons of experience. There is no reason to believe that Miami will have an easier time with the spurs, like a lot of stupid Miami fans think. We have way more superior aspects to our game than Indiana, so logic only tells us we should match up just as good, if not better. What gives me hope is that the spurs have seen it all through these playoffs. A dominant front court? Spurs beat that. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol in the first round wasn't much of a problem (I'm not including other Lakers players, I'm talking strictly inside presence), and Marc Gasol and Randolph seemed to easy for us. Great shooters? Spurs beat that. Arguably the best shooting backcourt in NBA history, The SPLASH Brothers, gave us fits in the first two games of the 2nd round, but after that, Pop said enough is enough and made adjustments. Where were the Splash Brothers in games 3-6? Yeah, exactly. Tough, physical, grinding basketball? Yeah, ask Memphis if that affected us in any way. Tony Parker abused All NBA First Team Defensive Player Tony Allen, and abused a good defender in Conley. The only thing the Spurs haven't faced is an incredibly fast team. Excluding Lebron, Miami isn't a fast team at all. And Miami being super athletic is a very overrated statement. Other than Lebron, who on the Heat is super athletic? Wade? Um, not anymore. Chalmers? I don't think so. Bosh? LMFAO. Haslem? Yeah right. Allen? Birdman? Mike Miller? Nope. Norris Cole is athletic, but is he going to be a factor for Miami? No, he's basically their version of our Cory Joseph, just SLIGHTLY better, simply because he's a little more experienced. Lebron James puts the EXTRA in EXTRAORDINARY. He makes Miami a thousand times better. He's the 2013 version of 2003 Tim Duncan. The team goes, responds, follows, reacts, plays according to HIM. I know it's nowhere near easy, but you really make Lebron uncomfortable, Miami as a whole will falter in the process.