At this point in the playoffs, it's virtually impossible to assign positions to most of the contributors on the top two teams in the league. That said, let's check out some perceived match-ups, as we go roster-to-roster:
Tony Parker vs. Mario Chalmers SPURS ADV Parker could prove almost unguardable in this series. Chalmers has improved this year but should be overmatched.
Cory Joseph vs. Norris Cole EVEN Cole provides more offensive punch, but Cojo's D could prove invaluable against Wade and others.
Danny Green vs. Dwyane Wade HEAT ADV Green's D will be needed on LeBron at times, and we're all hoping his threes are falling. Wade's effectiveness all depends on our ability to botch the Heat's passing lanes.
Gary Neal vs. Ray Allen HEAT ADV Allen can still hit big shots, and Neal is sometimes inconsistent. Matching up against a slower Allen could hide some of Neal's defensive shortcomings.
Kawhi Leonard vs. LeBron James HEAT ADV The KLeon's D will really be the deciding factor in this series. How much help he will demand for LeBron will determine how much the Heat's supporting cast will be freed up. LeBron is the juggernaut for the Heat, and if we can limit his distributing and confuse their offensive spacing, things could swing our way. But that hinges on the level of isolation defense Leonard can play for the majority of the series.
Manu Ginobili vs. Mike Miller SPURS ADV We need Manu. He is our Wade, in a sense. No one can truly guard him, and when he's on, we generally win. We've been winning without his best outputs, but that may prove difficult against Miami. Tony will need to be spelled as Option 1 at times. Mike Miller is a seasoned vet, and the guy can still shoot.
Tiago Splitter vs. Udonis Haslem SPURS ADV Splitter should do well against either Bosh or Haslem. He's playing tougher now, and decent bigs have a history of succeeding against this Heat team, as these playoffs have exhibited.
Boris Diaw vs. Shane Battier HEAT ADV Battier is a great player. He gets inconsistent playing time, but he could show up big at any time. His D is solid, his BBIQ is high, and he can hit big shots. We need Diaw to continue his smart play and smother Bosh from time to time.
DeJuan Blair vs. Rashard Lewis HEAT ADV Lewis is a smart player, and he can still drain some threes, but he isn't likely to do much else. Blair won't get burn unless we get down a couple of games, and what we're doing doesn't seem to be working.
Tim Duncan vs. Chris Bosh HEAT ADV Duncan wins. Bosh will be looking to bounce back from a poor Indiana series, but our interior defense, plus the fact that Tim is better than he is in all areas won't help Chris. He'll still fight, though.
Matt Bonner vs Chris Andersen EVEN I called it even, because Matty B can shoot. Andersen has brought a lot more to the Heat than probably anyone thought he would, but Bonner has stepped up in these playoffs like never before.
Aron Baynes vs. Joel Anthony HEAT ADV Anthony should get some playing time, and he has playoff experience, but he shouldn't make too much splash. Baynes will only see the court in garbage time (if that ever happens), or in the same scenario I created for Blair above.
It's time, Pounders. Let's go.