2013 NBA Finals Game 3 preview: Heat head into final road trip of the season with title aspirations

Christian Petersen

With the NBA Finals tied up at one game apiece, Miami will have to deal with the challenge of three straight road games in the 2-3-2 format of the league's final series. Miami's brilliant stretches of defense will be tested as the Spurs adjust for game three.

Part of being a fan of a team is enjoying wins, even blowout ones, and riding the emotional roller coaster of a playoff series. That's all terrific. When you're a fan of a team, you can be completely engaged in a blowout that nobody from any other fanbase cares for, as long as your team is up. Game two of this NBA Finals gave Miami Heat fans that experience.

But being a basketball fan is about so much more.

Miami's big win in game two of the NBA Finals could very well be met with a Spurs blowout win in game three. Or another close game. Either way, this looks like the supremely fun Finals we anticipated when everyone was overlooking the Indiana Pacers in the last round.

Just enjoy the basketball, and try to ignore the incessant noise after every single game. The hollow noise of narrative swinging in opposite directions after every contest where two great team's are playing at the highest level and only one team can win is better if lowered or muted.

The whispers that get to louder and louder after every halftime show and lead to overreactions from gasbag analysts cloud the fact that two extremely talented, extremely prepared, extremely great team's are playing basketball for all of us to watch and enjoy.

/Rant over.

So these two great team's we just talked about are playing the game of basketball again!

Miami will look to continue to spread the floor with shooters and make NBA offense look like art. Side pick-and-rolls with Mario Chalmers became a go-to play in game two, and with Lebron James screening, it gave the Spurs a different look.

Miami's precise defensive rotations are difficult to sustain all game, but as is usually the case with the Heat, they are a spurt or two from blowing a game open off of their defensive intensity. Continuing to give Tony Parker and the Spurs different looks in the pick-and-roll and patrolling the second line of defense will be the key to stalling, if possible, a Spurs outburst.

Manu Ginobili and Dwyane Wade would have been a blockbuster shooting guard matchup a few years ago, but Wade's health and Manu's, well, I don't know, is taking a part of my soul away and it makes me sad.

Watch Game 3 for the outstanding playing and coaching on display, but regardless of the results, enjoy it.

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