It’s the two best words in sports: Game 7.
Sports fans around the country are in for a treat tonight as the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs face off in a winner take all game for the NBA Championship.
After four consecutive blowouts in Games 2-5, Game 6 was one for the ages. It had everything you ever wanted in a finals game.
So after all the craziness that has been this year’s NBA Finals, there is only one thing we know for sure, and that is that no one really knows what to expect in tonight’s game. But here’s how I see Game 7 playing out.
If any other team in the league had choked in Game 6, I would immediately write them off in Game 7. However, San Antonio’s next play mentality makes them the one team that may actually be able to rebound from such an emotional loss.
If San Antonio is going to win tonight, Tim Duncan is going to have to have another huge game. Duncan had 25 points in the first half of Game 6, but only 5 points in the second half and overtime. One of the reasons Duncan only scored 5 points after halftime was because the Heat starting full fronting Duncan, and the Spurs were unable to get him the ball in scoring positions. Look for Coach Popovich to draw up some high low plays for Duncan, where someone will pass the ball from the wing to the top of the key and then lob it over the fronter’s head to Duncan on the block.
Manu Ginboili and Tony Parker are also going to have to play much better in Game 7 too if the Spurs plan on winning. Parker scored 19 points but only made 6 of his 23 field goal attempts, and Ginobili scored 9 points but committed 8 turnovers. Look for Popovich to put Ginobili at the point guard position early in the game which allows Parker to play off the ball and get some open shots off baseline screens. Parker needs to get going early on because I’m expecting a high scoring game tonight.
Look for Pop to find ways to get Danny Green some open shots early on too. The Heat did a much better job guarding him in Game 6, but look for Pop to draw up some cross screens for open threes.
For the Heat, the winning formula is very simple: LeBron needs to attack the rim like he did in the fourth quarter, and everyone else just needs to do their jobs.
LeBron is an animal, and should be attacking the rim at all times. The rest of the Heat team feeds off his aggressiveness, and when he attacks, it creates open 3-point attempts for Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers.
Chris Bosh played much better in Game 6, and actually played like a big for once. Look for Bosh to realize that Miami is better when he’s in the paint, and he’ll stay around the paint for the majority of the game. Look for Eric Spoelstra to run a few post up plays for Bosh too.
However, Dwyane Wade may be the key to this game. He played awful in Game 6, and Miami was much better when he was on the bench. When Wade is on the bench, Miami is +56. When Wade is on the court, Miami is -48.
Wade is clearly one of Miami’s best players, but he has to play better. He needs to attack the rim like he did in Game 4, but more than anything, he needs to be a facilitator. If he gets in the lane, he’ll make the defense collapse, and then could kick the ball out to open 3-point shooters. He doesn’t need to score to be effective tonight.
Honestly, I could see this game going either way. Some experts are saying this is going to be a blowout, but I don’t see that happening. The Spurs are too good of a team let that Game 6 loss effective them tonight. I’ve been saying for a while now that this is a make or break series for LeBron’s legacy, and after seeing the way he played in the fourth quarter of Game 6, I have to think he’ll come out and play the same way tonight. I think Miami wins tonight, I don’t feel 100% confident in my pick.
Heat 107 Spurs 104