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Thursday, 6 June 2013

NBA Finals Picks 2013

Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs

The moment that Russell Westbrook was ruled out for the Oklahoma City Thunder until next season, the San Antonio Spurs were the favourites to win the Western Conference and get back to their first NBA Finals since 2007. The Spurs didn't disappoint as they lost just 2 games in the Play Offs, while sweeping the LA Lakers in the First Round and doing the same to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals.

On the other hand, the Miami Heat have been the favourites to win the 2013 NBA Finals ever since they clinched the Championship twelve months ago. Most people expected the Heat to run through the Eastern Conference, but they were surprised by the Indiana Pacers (although the roster probably wasn't surprised by how well Indiana played and it is more the viewers that were surprised) and had to win the Conference Finals with a Game 7 win last Monday night.

It is a fascinating series in prospect with many focusing on the redemption of LeBron James who saw his Cleveland Cavaliers team swept aside in the Finals of 2007 in the All-Star's first appearance in the Finals. James is a far better player than he was in 2007, while he is surrounded by a much stronger cast of players here in Miami and it is no surprise that they are the favourites to win this series.

Unlike the Indiana Pacers, the Spurs will definitely play at a tempo that will suit Miami and they don't use their size inside the paint to the same extent as Roy Hibbert does so I expect the Heat to feel a little more 'comfortable' in the series. Even though Thiago Splitter and Tim Duncan are big bodies, they don't play the same way as Hibbert which makes the Pacers such an offensive rebounding team and I expect Miami to find a way to prevent so many second chance opportunities in this one.

The big problem for the Heat may just be finding a way to slow down Tony Parker, who has been very good throughout the series. Parker is turning back the clock and is certainly going to have an advantage over Mario Chalmers/Norris Cole at the Point Guard position.

The teams are evenly matched in a number of areas and they do have a similar philosophy in how they want to play. Miami will need Dwyane Wade of Game 7 against the Pacers, while Chris Bosh has to get out of the slump he has been in. If that happens, I think the Heat will find themselves being a little too strong for San Antonio and recording back to back Championships for the franchise.

Prediction: Miami Heat in 6 Games

June 6th
San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat Game 1 Pick: The long lay off between Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals and Game 1 of the NBA Finals could be tough to overcome for San Antonio tonight. There is bound to be some rust, while they are playing a Miami team that were dominant in their Game 7 win over Indiana on Monday night and one that is going to use their emotion to carry them through this one.

Both teams are evenly matched and these spreads are going to be tough to get a read on, but I do like Miami in Game 1 to cover.

June 11th
Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs Game 3 Pick: It has been a strange couple of games to open the NBA Finals and both teams will feel they have had a chance to be in a much stronger position as we begin the first of three games to be played in Texas.

I predicted the Heat to win this series in six games and that means they will need to win at two of the three games in San Antonio. The short turnaround between Game 2 and this one will favour Miami and I think the Spurs have to make more adjustments if they are to turn the momentum. If the role players contribute as they did in Game 2, I think the Heat can win this one as the underdog.

June 13th
Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs Game 4 Pick: A torrid second half cost the Miami Heat in Game 3, but this is a position where they have really performed their best in the post-season in the 'Big Three' era. The Heat will be in a desperate state after the way they blew Game 3 and I think this could be the first time in the series that LeBron James plays like, well, LeBron James.

Tony Parker is fit to go for the Spurs, but could be slowed by his hamstring issue with only a day of rest between Game 3 and this one. That may slow down their three point barrage and give the Heat a chance to level this series again. It's been a poor Play Offs for the picks and the Finals have confused me, but I like the Heat to tie this at 2-2.

June 16th
Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs Game 5 Pick: This series has been really tough to get a hold of as the team in the 'desperate' spot has managed to win the game they needed to. However, it will be tough for San Antonio to continue that trend if Tony Parker's hamstring gives him trouble at any point, although it seems clear to me that a Miami Heat win in this one will almost certainly see them winning back to back NBA Championships.

The teams have both gone through periods where they have shot effectively and it is with that in mind that I am going to go for this to be the third game in a row that has surpassed the total.

June 18th
San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat Game 6 Pick: The Miami Heat are in the last chance saloon if they are to keep hold of the NBA title they won a season ago and also to avoid all the criticism that will surely be flung their way if they don't at least extend this to a Game 7.

Both teams have recovered from big losses in the series and I do think the Heat can maintain that trend in this one. The likes of Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker could have a tough time maintaining their form from the last game with just one day rest between games, while I expect a much better defensive effort from the Heat in this one.

The desperate team continues to find a way to shift the momentum in their favour and I like the Heat to cover in this Game 6 and force a huge Game 7 on Thursday.

June 20th
San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat Game 7 Pick: This series has been great from a fan point of view, but the games have been really difficult to pick against the spread with a number of strange turns of event throughout.

My biggest problem is trying to figure out if one day of rest is enough for the San Antonio Spurs to get rid of the feeling that they should have the Championship wrapped up already. The way they lost Game 6 has to be heartbreaking and their roster is a little older than Miami's, but previous experience of a Game 7 will help.

However, they are now playing against history as they look to become the first team in 35 years to win a Game 7 on the road in the NBA Finals and I just think Miami can pull away here if they get off to a strong start... Although my confidence levels aren't particularly high on this pick.

MY PICKS: 06/06 Miami Heat - 5 Points @ 2.00 Coral (1 Unit)
11/06 Miami Heat @ 2.17 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
13/06 Miami Heat @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
16/06 San Antonio Spurs-Miami Heat Over 188 Total Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
18/06 Miami Heat - 6.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
20/06 Miami Heat - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

NBA Finals: 3-3, - 0.15 Units

Conference Finals4-4, - 0.26 Units
Play Off Semi Finals10-11, - 1.49 Units
First Round Play Offs21-18, + 2.19 Units
April Final6-9, - 3.40 Units
March Final20-16-1, + 3.08 Units
February Final6-3, + 2.61 Units
January Final5-14, - 9.31 Units
December Final17-7-1, + 9.19 Units
November Final13-8-1, + 8.03 Units

Final Season 2013105-93-3, + 10.49 Units
Final Season 201279-53-1, + 27.48 Units

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