The last time the Miami Heat came to San Antonio, it was kind of a big deal. They were in town to play Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs, who were one game away from clinching the NBA title. Of course, we know how things played out. LeBron James took over early for Miami, but the Spurs battled back, took the lead by halftime, and eventually demolished any chance that the Heat had to come back in the series.
Now, the Heat come back for a preseason matchup; and while the jerseys are the same, the names on the back are not. Gone is the King of South Beach, headed up to Cleveland to reclam his hometown throne. The rest of the roster is full of new faces as well. Role players like Ray Allen, Shane Battier, and Rashard Lewis have been replaced with the likes of Luol Deng, Danny Granger, and Josh McRoberts. Their point guard position has more depth, as they took the former UConn volume-shooting combo guard, Shabazz Napier.
As the players have changed, though, Coach Erik Spoelstra's team play will still look relatively the same, even if it's not quite the Flying Death Machine it used to be. Dwyane Wade will be called upon to lead the pick-and-roll charge. Chris Bosh will space the floor so that Miami can drive, slash, and whip the ball around. The only questions that remain are if they can still trap so hard defensively, and if Wade is durable enough to shoulder the load as a first-option.
Of course, for the Spurs, the roster has stayed the same. No one has left, and they added one newcomer in Kyle Anderson. They'll still have gorgeous ball-movement. They'll still have Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, unless Popovich chooses to rest them for the night.
For both of these teams, this game is a litmus test for the season. Can the Heat move around well enough to cover a fast-paced team? Can San Antonio still do what they need to against one of their toughest schematic matchups? These questions won't necessarily be answered, but we'll get a glimpse of what is yet to come.
|October 18, 2014|
|AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX|
|7:30 pm CST|
|Radio: 1200 WOAI|
|Norris Cole||PG||Tony Parker|
|Dwyane Wade||SG||Danny Green|
|Danny Granger||SF||Kawhi Leonard|
|Luol Deng||PF||Tim Duncan|
|Chris Bosh||C||Aron Baynes|
Game Prediction: Heat by 3.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, for real this time, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment:
Tel: 210-444-5607 | firstname.lastname@example.org