Everybody knows about the star players for San Antonio and Miami, but with 2014 NBA Finals on the threshold of ending, who bears watching for both sides?
San Antonio Spurs
Things really didn’t start to change for the San Antonio Spurs in the series until head coach Gregg Popovich made a seemingly minor tweak in his starting lineup by replacing Tiago Splitter with Boris Diaw. Yet the move has made all the difference. With Diaw on the floor, the Spurs have not only improved their transition defense but also their ball handling on offense. Diaw’s ability to pass has led to a type of flow offensively that the normally stingy Heat defense has not stopped. If that continues, then the results should remain the same in San Antonio.
Another little factoid about the Spurs and their success in the playoffs as well as the 2014 NBA Finals is shooting guard Danny Green. After averaging a modest nine points per game during the season, he has stepped it up to 11 in the post-season. In fact San Antonio is an impressive 9-1 in the playoffs when Green scores in double digits. They are 2-0 against Miami with that statistic. So keep an eye on Green’s stat line as the game progresses.
Like he was with Boston and like he was last year in Game 6, Ray Allen always seems to hit the clutch shots when he’s needed most. The Miami Heat can only pray he has a few more left in that 38-year old body. Strangely enough he’s been playing above average for the series against the Spurs. Perhaps the time is right Miami to feed him the basketball to see if he can give them a spark on offense. Nobody else is.
As far as playing for a contract goes, Mario Chalmers picked a bad time to lay an egg. With a chance to three-peat and earn a huge payday, the point guard has been virtually invisible in four games against the Spurs, scoring just 14 points total and averaging one fewer assist per game. Unless he breaks out of his funk soon, Miami will have to continue what it has done the entire series which is scour the roster for somebody who can help James and Wade turn things around. It’s not too late for Chalmers to do it, but time is almost up.