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The NBA finals are here, and there are plenty of storylines to
make this a very interesting series. The fact that this series is a
rematch of last year's Finals to me is important, and I think, in the end, will
be the reason the Spurs win in 6.
The Spurs, in the minds of most, had last year's NBA finals won
until "Jesus Shuttlesworth" AKA Ray Allen showed up to bail out he Heat with
his shooting from deep. The lingering memory that the Spurs let one slip
away last year, added to the fact that they have the better "team", is the
reason I believe they will come out on top.
As a former NBA player I will always take "team" over
"individual." When I played with the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals of
1996-1997, we had the best "team" on paper because we had the best regular-season
record and the NBA's MVP in Karl Malone on our team. The Chicago Bulls on
the other hand had arguably one of the best "teams" ever as well as arguably
the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of all Time) on their team in Michael Jordan. In the
end, the superiority of Michael Jordan ended up being the edge that the Bulls
used to win that series.
LeBron James, arguably the best
player in the game right now, has a similar moniker that Jordan had during his
reign in the NBA. What James does not have is the best "team" and that
will prevent him from winning this series. There are too many holes in the Heat's
game and they rely on three-point shooting to bail them out of games. The
Spurs rely on a "plug and play" type of a system where players are brought in
to fit into the Spurs "system" and that "system" is a machine that has dominated
in recent memory. Add to that machine the recent emergence of Kawhi
Leonard and the Spurs have a definitive edge.
I'm not saying that the Finals
will be an easy win for the Spurs. I expect all of the games to be close,
but in the end, the experience of the Spurs and the fact that they "let one get
away" will give the Spurs the ultimate win. The Big 3 of the Spurs of
Duncan, Parker and Ginobili know that this might be their last go
around. They have home-court advantage and the psychological edge of league
dominance on their side. They won't want to let this possibly last opportunity
go to waste. I'm sure that Spurs head coach Greg Popovich will be
stressing that in his pre-game speech.