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Soobum Im / USA TODAY Sports[/caption]
Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs
Time and Date:
Friday 21st of June at 11:00 am AEST from the American Airlines Arena, Florida.
LIVE Foxtel ESPN (See TV Guide for more series times and info).
Has there been a more up and down NBA Finals series than this one? After blowouts in almost every match NBA fans were treated to what was arguably the best game of the NBA Playoffs in Game 6.
The Miami Heat may have come away with a 100-103 win to tie the series 3-3. But also haven't been able to string along two wins in a row since Round 2 against the Chicago Bulls.
Their entire postseason seems to have been marred with erratic performances from both their stars and roleplayers. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have only now begin to positively impact their team, and even LeBron James has found himself limited and ineffective at times.
Because of this the team that was so dominant during the regular season has had their hands full against the San Antonio Spurs. And while their own veteran core has been erratic themselves -- especially Manu Ginobili -- we have seen some fantastic performances from roleplayers such as Danny Green, Gary Neal and Kawhi Leonard.
That may be the lesson we take from these NBA Finals, the Spurs got more from their support players than the Heat did, who clearly need their stars to carry the team.
After the thrilling Game 6 win the Miami Heat have a daunting task: win a second playoff game in a row and show consistency on both sides of the court.
If the last game was anything to go by we know the Heat can defend against the swift Tony Parker and strong Tim Duncan. They didn't do it for the entire game, but did so in the second half when it counted, limiting Tim Duncan to only five points during that period.
Still, they need to get better defending the paint, giving up 60 points inside during Game 6.
Likewise the Heat know that they can score on the Spurs, and at times successfully penetrated the paint, drawing fouls and making easy buckets. But again, they need to do it for the entire game.
The Spurs may have fizzled late in the game, but they clearly know how to beat the Heat. Their penetration inside made a mockery of Miami's post defenders and their fast break points (11) doubled that of the Heat on the night.
For the most part their defensive efforts worked too, forcing James and Wade to make low-percentage shots from outside.
The Heat will win if they can find a way to better defend the paint. They might run small the majority of the night, but it's clear that if they let Tony Parker play free and Tim Duncan set up in the post they're in trouble.
The Spurs will win if they can get some more help on offence. In Game 3 it was Gary Neal and Danny Green, in Game 5 it was Manu Ginobili and Danny Green again. It doesn't matter who steps up, but it's clearly that Tony Parker and Tim Duncan cannot do it all, not for a whole game.
In the end the NBA Championship will be awarded to the team that displays the most consistency on both sides of the ball.
No small task, given the history of this series.