Thursday’s Truths: Last Man Standing

Miami's Big 3 has made it to the NBA Finals three times in a row.
Miami’s Big 3 has made it to the NBA Finals three times in a row.

As we approach the end of the 2012-2013 NBA playoffs, we see a different dynamic between the two teams facing off in the final series of the season, and yet if we take a closer look we can see more similarities than differences.

One team is older in age that plays very conservative, and shoots a range of high percentage shots, are known for moving the ball well and getting everyone involved. The other team young and athletic is known for fancy ball handling and highlight dunks.

The two teams represent their respective conferences and their style rewarded them to the NBA Finals. The San Antonia Spurs is lead by Hall of Fame coach Greg Popovich, a man who practices placing fear into his players and leads his team in a dictatorship style of coaching.

However, unlike in the college game, in the NBA where players are more important than coaches, the Spurs have two superstars that will end up in the Hall of Fame themselves. Tim Duncan is arguabably the best power forward of all-time, a player with four championships already on his belt.

Now Duncan is going for title number five in his 19th year in the NBA.

Alongside Duncan is the Spurs point guard Toni Parker, whom had whispers of a MVP-type season earlier this season, while leading the team in points and contributing to their No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

The x-factor coming off the bench for the Spurs is guard Manu Ginobili. Despite injuries, Ginobili still manages to put up big numbers once his team gets into the playoffs. A lot of credit has been given to the Spurs for playing “team basketball.

However, the truth of the matter is that the Spurs is just like any other team that makes it to the NBA Finals in that they play through their superstars. The main offense the Spurs run is just the type of style ran by Karl Malone and John Stockton from the Utah Jazz; the classic pick and roll.

That offense provides high percentage shots and then open things up for the role players. I speak of their offense but the Spurs start everything with defense. Anyone who knows basketball knows that beginning your style of play with defense is the formula to win championships.

Moreover, the Spurs are a team that has two main stars and are surrounded with guys that can play defense, shot, and rebound.

As I listen to that line it kind of reminds me of this other team that plays down in South Beach. The team has two main stars, with a third potential star. Furthermore, the team’s formula for success is start with the defensive aspect of the game.

These superstars are then surrounded by guys who play defense, shot well and can rebound. What I just described are the defending champions the Miami Heat.

However, unlike the Spurs, Miami head coach Eric Spoelstra celebrates his leaders and work hand and hand with them to troubleshoot the team’s flaws.

It takes a real man to set aside ego and recognize true greatness. The Heat has the reigning the NBA regular season MVP LeBron James, who lost in his first NBA Finals against the Spurs.

The Heat also have at their disposal 2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwayne Wade. Both men are looking to repeat the success they enjoyed last year. But really sets the Heat apart from other teams is the other ingredient  mixed in with their success.

Playing through a few injuries forward, Chris Bosh has taken a step back from being the number one option on his previous team to the third option for the Heat. Bosh has been routinly critized by media analysts for not contributing to the standards he knows expected from his role.

Simply put, Bosh and is a vital piece in the Heat’s success.

Tonight these different but similar teams battle it out to see who will be the last man standing to represent the NBA as champions for the 2012-2013 season. Pushed by media that these two teams are complete opposites of each other but truly mirror images.

Both teams with experience, both playing with future Hall of Famers, both posses great shooters, and both play defensive minded. Neither team will go down calmly; this will be a battle to the end.

However, I’m predicting a seven game series with the defending champions closing it out on their home floor in the city of Miami.

 

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