How the Spurs Will Take It All

The Spurs are coming off a dominant performance, dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in four games. It's not too often a team brings out the brooms in a Conference Finals series. The extra rest, and confidence, it'll give the team will only continue to grow as the winner from the East will have to emerge from what is becoming a real dog fight. Most figure the eventual winners from the Eastern conference will be the Miami Heat, but their chances to win it all don't look quite as good as they used to. When the Spurs are firing on all cylinders, as they are now, they are a tough team to beat.

During the regular season even the most stout of Spurs fans will concede that the Heat had the better team. However, most of the advanced metrics will show that it is pretty close:

San Antonio Spurs

Miami Heat

Offensive Rating



Defensive Rating



Offensive. Efg%



Defensive Efg%



Offensive RB%



Defensive RB%



On top off all that, the Heat were absolutely stellar during crunch time, but good things don't last forever. During the playoffs the Heat's performance has fallen drastically during crunch time. Here's how the offensive and defensive ratings (points scored/allowed per 100 possessions) break down this regular season and postseason - for the final 5 minutes of a game when the score is within 5 points (crunch time):

Regular season: 120.2 ORtg - 87.6 DRtg: plus-32.6 Net
Postseason: 95.2 ORtg - 115.7 DRtg: minus-20.5 Net

For perspective, the Heat's efficiency marks are worse on both ends of the floor than the Charlotte Bobcats this past season. Those are drastic differences, and it's not something that was isolated to one game. This is an ongoing trend for the Heat, that had one of its most shining examples in their most recent outing. The key play in game 4, the one that basically locked it up for the Pacers, came with approximately 5:00 minutes left. George Hill ran a pick and roll and when the defense collapsed on him he dumped it off to Roy Hibbert who got foul from Dwayne Wade. That is a play that the Spurs will see a tremendous amount of success with, Tony Parker is one of the best in the NBA at running the pick and roll. However, the Spurs have even one more wrinkle they can add. They have become very effective at hitting the mid-range jumper. When the Spurs have hit those shots, of which Tim Duncan has become a master, they are almost unbeatable. Parker his even been working on it more recently, he is the main reason the Spurs acquired Chip England as their shooting coach. Even though advanced metrics show that the mid-range jump shot is very ineffective, it forces the defense to step out and defend. Then Parker is able to attack the paint and completely control the game while exposing the defensive flaws of the opponent.

On defense, it's not going to be easy to contain the Heat. However, they have been showing some chinks in the armor there as well. One interesting trend that has developed from the Pacers series is how the play of Roy Hibbert has changed the game. He is such a dominating presence inside that Lebron James has attacked much less. He is forced to pass more and sometimes even pull up for the jumper. One thing is for certain, when Lebron is forced to drive and kick the ball out the Heat are not at their most effective. Hibbert exposed the Heat for not being able to handle a big man on the inside. Think about this; Chris Bosh doesn't have any more than 5 rebounds in any single game this series, and it's not because he isn't trying. The question is whether or not the Spurs will be able to produce the same results.

The San Antonio Spurs should already start to be recognized as one of the great dynasties. The trio of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli have already made it to the NBA Finals more than any trio not from the Lakers or Celtics. Those teams are absolute basketball royalty. On top of that, Tim Duncan went to his first NBA Finals 14 years ago, no player in history has had a spread that long. What people don't realize is we are watching history be made. All the pieces are in place for a last dominating run that culminates in a championship.

This is fan-created content on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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