The Indiana Pacers almost beat the Miami Heat, so that means the San Antonio Spurs will win. Right?
That’s not to say the Spurs won’t win, but no deductions can be made from the Pacers’ success against the Heat. This Spurs team is nothing like the Pacers. The Pacers lived on defense, using the best defense in the league to pace an offense that struggled more than they would have liked. The Spurs’ offense is actually quite capable and their defense is nowhere near the level of Indiana’s.
Here are some random things to know before the NBA Finals start:
The Spurs statistically have a better offense than the Heat
Despite only scoring a tenth of a point more per game than the Heat in the regular season (103-102.9), this is still an important point. The point is made further by the fact that San Antonio is averaging 101.6 points per game in the postseason, while Miami is only averaging 91.7 points per game, 98.6 outside that grueling Indiana series. Miami did have the short end of the stick, however, because the average of all three playoff opponents’ defenses is 8th, while San Antonio’s average defense played is 14th.
The gap between the two teams’ defenses has opened during the playoffs
Miami barely had a better defense during the regular season, giving up an average of 95 points per game. The Spurs gave up an average of 96.6 points per game. During the playoffs, the Heat have cut their average down to 87.6 points per game. The Spurs have similarly cut their points given up and have lowered it to 91.5, but the regular season of 1.6 points is much smaller than the playoff gap of 3.9 points. The Heat have had to live on their defense and that defense could frustrate San Antonio.
The Spurs have never lost Game One of the NBA Finals
This is an interesting point, especially with Miami’s dominance on their home court (44-6 at home). The Spurs obviously have a tradition of starting hot, but it is worth noting that San Antonio was the home team in all four of those Game Ones. Miami is a completely different team at the AmericanAirlines Arena, so beating them in Game One will be a tall order.
Teams that have played in a Game Seven have a losing record in the NBA Finals
Teams that have played in at least one Game Seven are 23-25 in the NBA Finals. It’s almost even, but there is definitely something draining about playing in a seven-game series. It is even more draining when you play Chicago and Indiana in back-to-back series because they are two of the most physical teams in the league. Miami is going to be weary and it will be facing a well-rested San Antonio team. Miami won the Eastern Conference Final last year in seven games and still won the NBA Finals.
This is not the same LeBron James as in the 2007 NBA Finals
The Cleveland Cavaliers had no answer for the “Big Three” of San Antonio in 2007, getting swept right out of the NBA Finals. LeBron James was in his fourth year at the time and had not transcended into godhood yet. James was not yet considered the best player on the planet and was nowhere near considered the best defender in the NBA when he decides to shut his opponent down. James didn’t even have an NBA MVP trophy yet. He now has four. James had great stats that year, but he completely disappeared in the NBA Finals. That is something that most likely won’t happen again for the rest of his career.
Tim Duncan has as many rings as Miami’s “Big Three” combined
This may just speak for how old “The Big Fundamental” is, but how could I not write that? That is one of the coolest stats there is and people don’t talk about the greatness that is Tim Duncan enough. This Spurs team is very experienced and no one as much as the three-time NBA Finals MVP, Timmy-D.
Do you have any random facts or stats? I’d love to hear them. Comment below.
-Marty F. Nemec