The editors for WashingtonWizards.com, Jacob Raim and Jeremy Hyman, take a crack at predicting the outcomes for the NBA Finals.
First Round: Jeremy (5-3) | Jacob (7-1)
Second Round: Jeremy (4-0) | Jacob (2-2)
Third Round: Jeremy (2-0) | Jacob (1-1)
Heat vs. Spurs
Jacob - Once Russell Westbrook got hurt, this was the finals matchup that everybody was anticipating and hoping for. During the regular season, each team rested their stars in one of the matchups, so we never really got to see these teams compete. Like the Pacers, the Spurs have the size to exploit the Heat down low. Splitter and Duncan should be a real matchup problems in terms of size and skill for the bigs of Bosh, Haslem and Anderson when the Spurs have the ball. Bosh may have to take on a larger defensive role to contain Duncan in this series. The Spurs will try to take advantage of Parker against Chalmers, but look for the Heat to try to get sneaky with their defensive matchups and I would expect Parker to see more of Wade and James than he would like. Both of their size and athleticism will be tough for the smaller Parker to handle. The Heat's offense was strangely inconsistent against the Pacers and James is going to need some more help in this series. Leonard and Green are both solid defenders and the Spurs will try to double him a lot with Duncan, one of the best help defenders in the NBA. Leonard has done a solid job on the wing players he's gone up against like Barnes and Prince but now he'll be challenged by the best scorer in the game. The Heat love the three ball and will get plenty of looks from distance, as the Spurs really struggled to contain the three against a similar three point happy team, the Warriors. Wade is the x-factor for the Heat, James needs him to take on some of the scoring load and get back to being the player who averaged 21 points per game in the regular season. He will probably see both Ginobili and Parker on him at times during the series, both of whom are solid on the ball defenders. If Wade can get right though, they will struggle to contain him. Heat in 7
Jeremy - This is the series many predicted from the start of the playoffs (including myself), and the one we really wanted to see. The defending champion Heat vs. the age old Spurs who continue to perform at a high level. Many thought Miami would be the team to cruise to the finals and San Antonio would struggle with Memphis, but that was not the case. The Heat were given all they could handle from the Pacers and forced to play a long seven game series while the Spurs swept the Grizz in four games. That means that the Spurs will have 10 days in between games, an eternity for NBA players. I've heard players tell me that they can lose their rhythm or fall out of shape with just a few days off, but 10 days could really put them in trouble. Luckily, for a veteran team like the Spurs and the oldest tenured coach in the league Greg Popovich, they should be ok and probably knew when to rest and when to practice in that stretch. I don't forsee it being too big of an issue and after the first quarter or so of Game 1 they should find their stride. I think the Spurs may be the most complete team right now and are playing the best basketball led by their leaders Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. LeBron had to carry his Heat team for much of the series vs. Indiana as both Wade and Bosh are dealing with injuries and the rest of the team has been inconsistent. LeBron is clearly the best player in the world right now, but he gave all he had to squeak by Indiana and I think the Spurs will have an answer to stop him and the Heat. Spurs in 6