Some say last year’s NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs was the best in NBA history. Luckily for basketball fans like myself, the Heat and Spurs play each other in the regular season as well.
The Heat and Spurs will play each other for the second and final time of the regular season on Thursday night. The Heat beat the Spurs 113-101 in their previous meeting in January.
The Heat were on an eight-game winning streak until their streak was snapped by the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. The Rockets won 106-103 and outrebounded the Heat by 13. LeBron James had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation but missed his three point attempt with a few seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs have won four straight games since gaining key players back from injury, like Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. And with the return of Parker, the Spurs have increased their scoring and their defense has improved as well.
Even with the Spurs back at full strength, they are still no match for the Heat. The Spurs trio of Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili are another year older and all have dealt with some form of an injury this season. Leonard hasn’t developed into more of an offensive threat this season like I thought. For the Spurs to beat the Heat tonight or in a rematch in the NBA Finals, Leonard has to be more assertive on the offensive end of the court. Maybe the development of Patty Mills will in some way affect the outcome of the game in the Spurs favor, but the way the Heat have been clicking as a team lately it will be a tough task for the Spurs to win tonight.
With that lost to the Rockets on Tuesday, the Heat are motivated coming into tonight’s game. Coming off his 61 point performance against the Charlotte Bobcats and then struggling against the Rockets especially in the fourth quarter, James is looking to redeem himself tonight in front of a national TV audience. This will be one of those statement games where James again proves to the world that he is the MVP, not Kevin Durant. With Dwyane Wade playing well also, the Spurs are going to have a tough time stopping the Heat from scoring.
Tonight’s game between the Spurs and Heat will be an interesting one to watch. What kind of mindset will the Spurs have coming into the game? Will Wade continue to play well or will he look like a shell of himself? These questions and others are ones I hope to find answers to tonight. This is a game the Heat should win because they are clearly the better overall team. And with that being said, I see it being a competitive game for the first three quarters, but James and the Heat will pull away in the fourth quarter to win by 12.