Aside from probably three-point shooting, any time we say "so and so is the biggest concern for the San Antonio Spurs" over the next couple of weeks, that "so and so" is going to be LeBron James. He is the Heat's best scorer, passer, rebounder, defender and even all-around shooter. Containing him is likely not going to happen, but containing the rest of the Heat players is going to be crucial to the Spurs winning the NBA Championship.
The biggest concern is Chris Bosh. Part of that has to do with Bosh himself and part has to do with the fact that Dwyane Wade hasn't looked right all playoffs long. If Danny Green's only job is to shadow a hobbled Wade, then he can be contained without much help from the other Spurs players on the court. Bosh, on the other hand, is trickier to defend. It's easy to say you just have to defend him the way Roy Hibbert did last round, but recent history tells us Bosh has been consistently healthy and really good against the Spurs.
There's very little from the recent match ups between the Heat and Spurs that gives us much of anything as far as useable information goes. However, we do know that Bosh feels like he can attack the Spurs. This season, Bosh was the only member of either Big 3 to play in both games. In those games, he averaged 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Last season he scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the team's lone match up. The year before that? 23.5 points and 13 rebounds average in the Heat's two games vs. the Spurs.
The part that makes Bosh so tough to defend is his outside shooting. Normally you're perfectly fine giving up long 2's, especially to big guys. However, Bosh thrives off long 2's. Take a look at his shot chart:
If you can push him out to the three point line, great. He's not quite Dirk Nowitzki so you're cool with three-pointers from him. But if he shoots over 50 percent from almost every spot from mid-range, you're obviously not comfortable giving him those looks. Do you force him to put it on the deck and go to the basket? Does that mean you put Splitter on him and have Duncan waiting at the basket to contest any shots?
It's possible Bosh's ankle is still a problem and it's possible he'll get taken out of the game early if he doesn't get many touches. We've seen both of these things happen. But an engaged Bosh is a problem for the Spurs because it stretches the defense that much more. Tony Parker and LeBron James may be the most important players for their respective teams, but the Bosh-Duncan match up could decide at least a couple of games over the next couple of weeks.
Photo: Fox Sports Florida