5 Reasons Why the Heat Will Win the NBA Finals
As the Miami Heat gear up for Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA finals, let us examine five reasons why the Heat are the team to beat in the 2014 NBA finals:
1. Deliberate Pace, Torrid Shooting
The Heat play with a deliberate pace and dictate the tempo of the game. They are last in the playoffs in Pace statistics at 87.3 while the Spurs are #4 at 96.2. However, Miami’s offense is the most efficient in the NBA at 113.7 points per game. The Heat also tops the NBA at 1.37 points per shots during the playoffs. These offensive stats are superior in the postseason because the Heat are shooting extremely well. The Heat are number 1 in Effective FG% at 56.1% and true shooting percentage at 60.2%. They also commit the fewest number of turnovers per game at 10.9.
The Indiana Pacers were the NBA’s 2nd best defensive team during the regular season. They allowed just 92.3 points per game on .420 FG% allowed. Miami averaged 98.5 points per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat shot above 50% from the field in four of the six games, including a series high of 57.9% in the deciding 6th game.
2. What Pressure?
If you think that Lebron James is pressured to win his third straight title and Finals MVP, think again.
While the struggles of the MVP Kevin Durant was well documented during the entire playoffs, James has been playing like it’s still the regular season. His stats have remained almost the same:
Lebron James only player in postseason with 30+ PER, with 31.22. During the regular season, his PER was 29.40. Lebron is also posting career highs in Scoring efficiency and Shooting efficiency in this playoffs. His .562 FG percentage is his highest ever in the playoffs.
James has not settled for the jump shot in the playoffs. During the regular season, he was attempting 7.6 free throws per game. That has increased to 8.7 in the post season. But the thing with his free throws is that he’s also increased his accuracy in the playoffs from .750 to .809. James has never shot at least .800 in his career both in the regular season and the playoffs. He’s upping the standards now.
And here’s the scary thing. Lebron James is just averaging 38.3 minutes per game which is the lowest ever in his career. This year is the first time that he is averaging less than 40 minutes per game in the playoffs. The last thing San Antonio needs is a fresh and well rested Lebron James. Unfortunately, that might be the case in this finals.
3. Wade of Old
In the 2013 playoffs, it was obvious that Dywane Wade wasn’t himself. He looked more like the Old Wade. This season, Wade’s been playing like the Wade of old in the playoffs. Look at Wade’s scoring numbers this postseason:
Wade is playing 34.7 minutes per game in the current playoffs. He did 35.7 last season. Wade is also taking the same number of shots per game at 14.3 FGA per game. His free throw attempts per game has increased from 3.6 per game last season to 4.3 this year.
So with Dwyane playing the “Way of the Wade”, Lebron’s life has been much easier this postseason.
4. The Supporting Cast
San Antonio has a very deep team. But Miami’s bench is built for the playoffs. The Spurs bench contributes more points on a nightly basis. But Miami’s bench steps up big time in big games.
Chris Andersen has the 9th best PER among ALL players in the playoffs at 22.1. Birdman’s averaging 6.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game on a .667 FG shooting percentage.
Ray Allen has already come up with classic shooting performances against the Nets and the Pacers. His three point makes per game has increased in every series. It started at 0.8 three per game against the Bobcats then it went up to 1.8 treys per game against the Nets. It’s gone up to 2.0 three pointers against the Pacers. Allen was shooting .445 from three point distance during the conference finals.
We all know what a struggling Ray Allen did in last year’s finals. How much more damage can a streaking Ray Allen do? The Spurs hope not much, they’ve felt his dagger in Game 6 last year.
But the most dangerous guy off the Miami Bench is Rahsard Lewis. He played a total of 43 minutes in the first four games of the Eastern Conference finals then exploded for 18 points in Game 5 and 13 points in Game 6. He played an average of 28 minutes per game in the final two games of the conference finals. Lewis also averaged 4.5 three pointers per game in those two games by going 9-16 in total from three point land. So here’s a guy whom Coach Spo puts in a freezer most of the season, and then comes up huge when his number is called out. That’s a cold blooded assassin sitting on that Heat bench.
Miami is only the third franchise to be in a fourth straight finals appearance. The other two are the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat are aiming for a three peat, something that Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Kobe Bryant’s Lakers have done in recent history. Lebron James has the opportunity to be Finals MVP three consecutive times, only Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan have been able to do such feat. These are motivations that are big enough to move the Big Three.
Finally, when Lebron, Bosh and Wade were first introduced as the Big Three, Lebron promised not one, not two, not three….but eight NBA titles for the Heat. They’ve gone 2-3 so far. It’s a chance to get another one. Its winning titles that got this trio together, they’ll go all out to win one each time they have a chance. The Big Three’s future also depends on this title run. They will be free agents very soon, and winning the title will keep them together in Miami. Losing it will defeat their purpose and could send them apart.
The Spurs are a great team and have achieved incredible things this season. Tim Duncan wants one last ride. But the younger and hungrier crew is Miami. All they need is to steal one of the first two games on the road, just like what they did to the Pacers. Miami is flawless at home this postseason. It looks to remain that way.
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