Heat, Spurs ready for Finals rematch

Mike Ehrmann

Game 1 will likely feature both coaches looking for each team's strategy and making proper adjustments in-game or later in the series.

And here we go.

After four NBA-free nights and the media's attempt to fabricate a Miami Heat/San Antonio Spurs beef when in reality the two franchises have nothing but respect for each other, the NBA Finals are finally here. Both teams have changed slightly since last year's epic seven-game Finals series, and this year San Antonio holds home-court advantage.

At least for now.

For the Heat, the formula to win a series without home-court remains the same -- even in the altered 2-2-1-1-1 format. Miami should win one of the first two games in San Antonio and defend home-court from then on. The Heat did this in previous series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and most recently the Indiana Pacers.

Now, I'm already on record as saying that the Spurs will win Game 1. In all three of those series -- in which Miami won despite coming in as the lower-ranked team -- the Heat won Game 2 on the road. Through four seasons, one certainty exists with this current iteration of Miami -- this team only plays really well when it needs to. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Miami players run slow defensive rotations Thursday night, as they did in Game 1 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals and for extended stretches in Games 3 and 5 in last year's Finals. Miami even lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals last year to the Spurs, altogether that game was competitive.

The Heat's defense simply has to remain active and alert in this series -- or else Danny Green and other Spurs shooters will find open shot after open shot. Offensively, we'll have to see if the Spurs remain willing to give up mid-range and 3-point shots to Miami's stars. In Game 7 of the NBA Finals, San Antonio dared LeBron James to shoot 3s even after he started knocking them down. Will Gregg Popovich stay with that strategy, with even Chris Bosh becoming a more prolific 3-point shooter? Dwyane Wade even managed to take (and make) some 3s in the conference finals. Will that happen again, especially if he has a cross-match?

Game 1 will be partly be about each coach looking for the opposing team's strategy and making proper adjustments in the game or later in the series. It's a pretty safe bet that Rashard Lewis will start at power forward, if only because he can draw his defender out to the 3-point line and emerged as a surprising defensive pest against David West in the conference finals. It's also a safe bet that Norris Cole -- who didn't get off the bench in Games 6 and 7 of last year's Finals -- will be counted on more this year to add defense on the Spurs backcourt. A lot of other things, we'll just have to wait until the jump-ball goes up.

Through an uneven regular season, the Heat have largely cruised to the Finals thanks in large part to a rejuvenated Wade. Now, Miami's right back where it was last year in a position to three-peat. Let the games begin.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Hot Hot Hoops

You must be a member of Hot Hot Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hot Hot Hoops. You should read them.

Join Hot Hot Hoops

You must be a member of Hot Hot Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hot Hot Hoops. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker