Heat vs. Spurs, NBA Finals Game 7 Preview: What the Experts Are Saying

Jun 19, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James during practice before game seven of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James during practice before game seven of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Game 7 of the NBA Finals takes place tonight when the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs take the court at American Airlines Arena with everything on the line. While we wait in anticipation for tonight’s big match up, I took some time to discuss the do or die game with our resident FanSided experts — Jae Bradley of All U Can Heat and Michael Rehome of Air Alamo.

With hours of watching their teams compete, they have a level of insight that we wanted to pass along to our readers here at FanSided.com.

So what did our experts have to say?

From All U Can Heat:

What should your team’s main focus be entering Game 7?
Paying attention to matchups. This is the Spurs’ offense in a nutshell:

Pass, pass, pass.
Eventually find a mismatch.
Exploit the mismatch to get a good shot or get fouled.

To stop the Spurs, the Heat need to be more aware of who the Spurs are trying to target, and how to defend the mismatches that do come up.

What player has to step up?
A cheeky answer to the question is that every player has to step up. And while I’m partly joking, I’m also not. Every point, every rebound (Chris Bosh’s two offensive rebounds at the end of Game 6? Priceless.), every assist counts. The simple, and obvious answer, is that the Heat’s Big Three have to show up in order for them to win.

Who will have the biggest game?
The amazing thing about LeBron is that we expect 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists from him every night. That’s absurd to expect on a nightly basis. But for him, those are normal numbers — and because it’s Game 7, because he’s the most multifaceted player we might ever see, and because LeBron’s legacy might be at stake, my money is on LeBron to have a monster game. (Remember Game 6 of last year’s Boston series?)

Who will win the NBA championship?
I’m leaning towards the Heat. Apparently, after last night’s game, Manu Ginobili said that the loss was “devastating” and that he (and the whole Spurs team) would have trouble recharging for Game 7. There definitely is emotional/psychological momentum in favor of the Heat — the only thing is that no team has won back-to-back games in this series, which means that after Miami’s Game 6 win, it would be the Spurs’ turn to win. I think the Heat have the motivation and the talent (and the home court advantage) to pull of a Game 7 victory, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the Spurs eke out a victory; they’ve been great all series,.

NBA Finals MVP? If Miami wins, I think it’s LeBron — unless Danny Green has an insane performance in a losing effort. I’m talking a 40+ points, 10-of-15 from three point range, hitting shots with his eyes closed-type of night. In that case, some consideration would have to be made for Danny Green.

If the Spurs win, I think it’s a Tony/Timmy toss-up. Timmy had a strong Game 6. Tony’s run the Spurs’ offense. Honestly, it would be great to see a co-MVP honors shared between the two (if the Spurs win).

From Air Alamo:

What should your team’s main focus be entering Game 7?
San Antonio’s main focus for game seven will have to be what is in front of them. This is the final game of the series and the NBA season. They need to keep focus on what is in front of them and play for 48 minutes. They are not going to beat the Heat in the first 12, it has to be for all four quarters. There is a lot on the line, coming off of the devastating overtime loss in game six, they have to put that game aside, it is what it is, it’s in the past now, focus on game seven and the ultimate goal.

What player has to step up?
Manu Ginobili. Game five he stepped up and had a huge game for the Spurs. He did everything right, from going back to his style of pay, making shots, making good passes. Game six, he went back to how he has played the first four games of the series, bad. Ginobili made some costly mistakes in game six. He tried to many times to pass the ball while he was in the air. The one that killed San Antonio, when he drove to the basket, was pushed underneath and tried to pass it back to the top where it was picked off. He has to, has to do a better job in game seven.

Who will have the biggest game?
Tony Parker. I feel that Tony will have a much better game. He scored 19 points, but shooting 6 for 23 from the floor is not a good percentage. He can and will play better. He feels that this is his team, he wants to win another title for Duncan. He will come out as relentless as ever. It is the last game, leave it all on the floor.

Keys to victory:
Feed Duncan. The Miami Heat have know one that can guard Tim Duncan. He had his way during game six. He had 30 through three quarters and looked like the Duncan of old. During game six, the Spurs stopped going to him and was trying to shoot down the Heat. We have to go back to the block with Duncan and let him go to work. He is a good enough passer that when double teamed, he will be able to kick it out to the open shooters.

Screen For Green. The Miami Heat, Chris Bosh, stated Danny Green won’t be open. Green was 1 for 7 from the floor, 1 of 5 from the three point line as he had his worse game of the Finals. The Spurs need to find some way to get Green the ball. He is shooting lights out. Setting some screens, whether it be double-screens or whatever, he needs to have the ball in his hands. I know many won’t agree with me, but he is the best shooter on the floor for San Antonio right now. He needs to get more touches.

Get Back To Basics. Rebound and hit your free throws. Two of which were big areas that cost the Spurs game six. Free throws win games. Have you heard that before? San Antonio had a shot to ice it so-to-speak with Kawhi Leonard at the free throw line in regulation where he it just one of two. Parker also missed some as well. We need to be sure we take advantage of those opportunities. Rebounding is also an area that we seem to let up on when it really matters. There were chances of grabbing that one rebound, possibly the one where Allen tied the game up to send it into overtime. It hit our hands, it hit our hands. We have to grab it and squeeze the ball. Easier said than done, I know. Let’s get back to basics.

Who will win the NBA championship? The way these finals have gone, win one, lose one, you would want to say that the San Antonio Spurs will take it. I don’t need the pattern to decide this. I am going to say the San Antonio Spurs. After a loss, they play inspired basketball and completely have destroyed the Miami Heat. This is their time. Possibly Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili’s last chance at a title. They are going to come out more inspired than ever, with more energy. San Antonio needs to put on ‘the clinic’ type game.

NBA Finals MVP? Tim Duncan.

Thank you to Jae and Michael for taking the time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions, and best of luck to their teams in tonight’s game. Let’s hope it is a good one!