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NBA Finals: Can the San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat?

June 05, 2013
  • Four-time NBA champion Tim Duncan, left, and the San Antonio Spurs will try to dethrone reigning champs LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Four-time NBA champion Tim Duncan, left, and the San Antonio Spurs will… (Ronald Martinez / Getty…)

Writers from around the Tribune Co. offer their predictions on whether the San Antonio Spurs can defeat the defending champion Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Please join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times

Yes. The Spurs are a more complete, cohesive and consistent team. They don’t sell as many jerseys or generate as many Twitter followers (in social media holdout Tim Duncan’s case, zero). The Spurs just win while sending opponents to the loony bin with their methodical playmaking. By comparison, Miami is as all over the place as a graffiti artist; the Heat is seemingly unbeatable one game and then riddled with issues (Is Dwyane Wade done? Can Chris Bosh outrebound a point guard?) the next. The steadier team wins this race.

Plus there’s the Gregg Popovich factor. The Spurs coach makes smart adjustments. He tweaks his players into their best performances and has turned Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green into a pair of up-and-comers who are nice complements to the team’s core of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The Spurs have more than enough going for them to beat the Heat.

Harvey Fialkov, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Will the real Big 3 please stand up? Throw out the farcical season series in which both organizations "rested" their stars. Although the Heat’s Big 3 are younger than the Spurs’ triumvirate, Dwyane Wade’s balky knee and Chris Bosh’s balky mind-set gives a rejuvenated Tim Duncan and clutch Manu Ginobili the edge.

However, incandescent MVP LeBron James will be unstoppable despite Kawhi Leonard’s best intentions. Spurs speedster Tony Parker will keep them close, but expect unheralded Norris Cole to disrupt the flashy Frenchman. The Heat’s Achilles’ heel was exposed by the physical Pacers, but that’s not an issue this series.

Both teams thrive on ball movement, finesse and corner three-pointers, so I’ll take a battle-tested Ray Allen and Shane Battier over Danny Green and Matt Bonner. "Pop" has more experience and titles, but "Spo" has home court, Pat Riley and LBJ. Heat repeat in 6.

Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel

The Spurs certainly can -- and will -- beat the Heat.

Indiana exposed one of Miami's biggest flaws -- its lack of size. The Spurs, more experienced than the Pacers in these moments, now will expose the Heat's other glaring weakness while offering enough in the paint with Tim Duncan.

The Heat have no answer for great point guards, and Tony Parker has been unsolvable this postseason.

While the Pacers were turnover-prone, Parker leads a team that always has thrived on precision.

The Heat will get back to playing their dangerous brand of small ball, but hobbled Dwyane Wade isn't the same player. LeBron James was forced to carry them, but he can't beat the Spurs by his lonesome.

[Updated at 1:02 p.m.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

The Spurs can't beat the Heat because LeBron James won't let them. And if that sounds like a simplistic take, you haven't been paying attention. And welcome to the scope of James' greatness.

James will be all over this series, of course, scoring, passing, exhorting his teammates and even guarding Tony Parker at key moments. And that's the difference between the James of now and the James of yesteryear, when he was burdened with the task of carrying the Cavaliers.

He's a more complete and mature player. He can win games with his defense and leadership as well. Don't think James can stop an All-Star point guard in crunch time? Just ask Derrick Rose, circa 2011 in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Spurs are a wonderfully coached, well-constructed team. But the Heat is deeper than last season and the biggest difference is that James has tasted a title. When great ones do that, they want more. And James is good enough to carry his teammates this time.]

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