by MATT GORDON Editor-in-chief
The 2013 NBA Finals are upon us, and the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs look to ride their Conference Finals momentum to another championship. The Spurs won game one on Thursday, 92-88, and look to go up two games to nothing going back to San Antonio for game three.
For the Miami Heat, the Finals matchup comes after a grueling, hard fought series with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The series went to game seven, which means the Heat do not have much time to rest and fix any issues that may have been present in the last series.
This lack of rest showed in the first Finals game, as Miami was able to compete with the Spurs until the final quarter, where San Antonio outscored them 23-16. In the game, league MVP Lebron James recorded a triple-double, with 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Unfortunately, the rest of his team did not show up, and the Heat lost the home court advantage that they thought would lead them to a second consecutive NBA title. This is a mounting proposition, as they are facing a team that has won four titles since 1999.
Junior Brandon Hur said, “This is a big loss for the Heat, as they have now lost home court advantage to a very experienced team. They need to make sure they win game two and not let the Spurs take over the series with another win.”
Unlike the Heat, the Spurs were able to play their balanced attack and wear down the Heat in game one. The Spurs were able to use their weeks of rest and planning to combat the Heat’s high paced offense.
The Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals. This start is surprising, since the Spurs are the oldest team in the NBA and rely on their aging veterans. However, these old-timers showed up big time and used their Finals experience to push through.
Point Guard and 12-year veteran Tony Parker led the way for his team with 21 points and six assists. Two-time MVP and 16-year veteran Tim Duncan, who is retiring at the end of the season, showed a solid offensive and defensive effort, with 14 rebounds.
A game one win was important for this team, as a longer series will surely wear down these veterans against the young, fast, and strong Miami starters.
If one thing is for sure, the Heat must win game two to have a shot at the title. Going down two games and having to play on the road for games three and four will jeopardize their chances.
Freshman Tyler Mahon said, “I think the Heat will come back in game two and win to even the series. They known they can not go down two games to such an experienced team and can rely on their overall athleticism to overcome their lack of rest.”
For the rest of the series, it is important that the Heat’s Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh show up to help James on the offensive end. Also, Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier need to step it up on the defensive end to try and stop the big men down low for the Spurs.
As for the Spurs, it is important that coach Gregg Popovich rests his aging stars whenever possible to try to conserve their energy for the ends of games.
Also, Kawhi Leonard needs to become a star this series and show the league that he is not just a bench player, but rather a player that can lead this team into the future.