It all comes down to Game 7. For those of us who have no allegiance to these teams, this is exactly what we wanted. Although it killed me inside to actually root for the Miami Heat in game 6, I really just didn’t want the season to be over. I wasn’t prepared to watch web gem after web gem on the Sportscenter Top 10. Yes, the catches are cool, but it gets so old!
So here are my keys to a Game 7 victory for both the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
1) An Aggressive LeBron James
The one thing about LeBron James that pisses me off the most is that he doesn’t attack the rim nearly enough throughout the course of a game. I understand that he enjoys getting his teammates involved, but if you’re 6’8”/265 and the fastest person on the court, you need to use that to your advantage. Right from the start, I’d like to see LBJ hold down the turbo button and go straight to the basket. In the fourth quarter comeback of Game 6, this is something we saw a lot from James. And guess what? They came back and ended up winning the game! If LBJ attacks the entire game tonight like he did in the fourth quarter of Game 6, I find it hard to believe that the Heat will lose.
2) Spread the Floor with Shooters
The Miami Heat were able to come back from a double digit deficit heading into the fourth quarter in Game 6 by playing a lineup of James, Chalmers, Allen, Miller, and the BIRDMAN. LeBron was able to run the show, either driving to the rim or kicking it out to any of his three shooters. The reason why Miami was able to come back was because they had great spacing. With Wade on the floor, the Spurs were able to clog the paint and make it difficult for James to go to the basket. Now, I’m not saying Spoelstra should consider benching Wade, but he should definitely look into playing this lineup for long stretches in both halves. By doing this, Wade can get enough rest throughout the game and have a strong fourth quarter.
3) Wade/Bosh need to step up
Although many people think LeBron is capable of winning a game by himself, this is unlikely against a tough and experienced Spurs team. James came down to South Beach for one reason: so he would not have to carry the entire team on his back and do all the work. It is imperative that either Bosh and/or Wade perform in tonight’s Game 7. They don’t necessarily have to drop 30 points, but they cannot go out there and lay an egg. Assuming one of these “stars” is able to play like themselves tonight, I find it more likely for Miami to come away with a victory.
San Antonio Spurs
1) A superb performance from Neal or Green
Besides game 6, we have seen at least one of these players be able to perform at an extremely high level. Both did not give any sort of contribution at all in the Game 6 loss. Green has been more consistent throughout the series, but Neal is more than capable of dropping 20 points on any given night. One of these players needs to step up, especially if Manu decides not to show. If Neal/Green is able to give San Antonio a nice spark on offense, their chances of winning sky rocket.
2) Another Throwback Game from Timmy D
What Duncan did in the first half last game was actually incredible. He ended with 25 points, giving the Spurs a six point lead. Bosh and the Heat defense had no real answer for him. Unfortunately, Tim’s age may have played a factor as he did not do much at all in the second half. He still ended up having a great stat line, but the Spurs really could have used him down the stretch. Duncan needs to match his play from Game 6 in tonight’s game in order for the Spurs to have a chance. The Spurs have a great opportunity to win Game 7 if Duncan has another fantastic performance.
3) Manu: X-Factor
Like I’ve said before, Manu is the x-factor of this Spurs team. I know they have been able to win without much contribution from him, but if Manu is playing up to his potential, this team becomes deadly. By having Manu’s playmaking ability along with his high arcing three point shot, the Spurs offense is a beautiful thing to watch. Manu does not need to match his Game 5 performance, scoring 20+ points and 10+ dimes. He simply needs to help Parker control the flow of the game, play tough defense, and hit a few clutch threes. Hopefully, we will see vintage Manu tonight.
Prediction: Miami Heat
Heat 96, Spurs 88