Thursday, June 20, 2013

NBA Finals Chronicles, Thursday June 20

Game 7 has finally arrived. Ever since Tuesday night, I have been anxiously awaiting. I'm sticking with my prediction from the beginning of the series, and saying that the Heat will win the game tonight and win the series. 

First of all, home teams have historically had a huge advantage in Game 7s. The home team has won each of the past five Game 7s in the Finals, with the last road team to win was the 1978 Washington Bullets. And look how that turned out, now they're the Wizards and completely horrible. Though John Wall is pretty good...

Anyway, over the past 30 years, home teams are 17-2 in Game 7s in the Conference Finals and the Finals. I'm not saying that history has any real bearing on how tonight's game is going to work out, but the home team has an immediate edge. 

I also believe that the fourth quarter of Game 6 was a turning point for LeBron James. The defense didn't play him any differently, and yet he was able to get to the rim at will. He took over, and he'll probably have that same mindset tonight. 

Danny Green will be the key for San Antonio. If he has another off night, the Heat can focus on guarding the paint and Tim Duncan will not have the same success he did on Tuesday night. Obviously, he'll be good, he's the best player ever at his position, but he won't get 30 points and 17 rebounds. Now if Green can shoot like he did in the first five games, it can be a major issue for Miami. They'll have to adjust their lineup and use more defensive players, so Shoeless Mike Miller will see less playing time.

Another huge note for the Spurs. Manu Ginobili needs to play better. He doesn't need to be nearly as good as he was in Game 5, but he can't be a negative. He was absolutely awful in Game 6 with his 8 turnovers hurting his team greatly. I don't expect to see him starting tonight after that massacre. I personally think that Game 5 was his last stand, and that he doesn't have much left in the tank.

Dwyane Wade also played pretty well in the fourth quarter, so I think that he'll be a key in deciding the game for the Heat. If he can get going early and attract extra defensive attention, they will be nearly unstoppable. 

That's another key point for Miami, a quick start. Being down 10 early is not going to be good for them. That probably means that their defense isn't playing well enough as a unit and that Wade and James probably aren't knocking down jumpers. If either shows even the slightest bit of confidence shooting the ball early, the defense will play them closer and open up the lanes for more drives. 

It's going to be interesting. 

Enjoy Game 7

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