Keys for the Spurs or Heat to Win the NBA Finals
The battle of the East and West has officially been set, as the Spurs seek to avenge their defeat to the Heat from last year and bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy once and for all.
Las Vegas odds have San Antonio slightly favored to win this series due to home court advantage, however the factors that determine who goes home with the title go far beyond which stadium the teams are playing in.
Here’s one factor for each team that could determine if the Heat will win their third title in a row or if the Spurs can finally bring home a championship for the first time in 7 years.
San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker’s Health
It may appear like nothing in the world bothers coach Gregg Popovich, but when he witnessed Tony Parker go down with an ankle injury during game 6, his expression turned from stone-cold to concerned in an instant.
The star point guard has been absolutely crucial for San Antonio throughout the postseason, averaging 17.2 points and 4.9 assists in 30 minutes, providing constant leadership and go-to scoring in clutch moments – something the Spurs will truly need when they face the Heat.
Since game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, Parker’s ankle has continually given him trouble, as he’s been forced to the sidelines in numerous stretches and now faces the possibility of re-aggravating it once he steps onto the floor on Thursday.
If Parker goes down relatively early, it’s tough to picture the Spurs overcoming the Heat’s powerful offense which has been nearly unstoppable as of late.
Miami Heat: Chris Bosh Needs Play Like an All-Star
In his last 3 games Bosh has looked like an absolute monster, averaging a jaw-dropping 23.3 points and 8 rebounds while shooting an efficient 57.5 percent from the floor.
However that was against an extremely dysfunctional Pacers team, so to think Bosh can put up the same kind of stellar numbers against the Spurs really is up in the air at this point.
We all remember the disappearing act Bosh put on in last year’s Finals, when he averaged a putrid 11.9 points on 46 percent shooting.
If the Heat really hope to have an edge in this series, it’s crucial Bosh produces like an All-Star and not like a mediocre starter.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops