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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat

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The Spurs finished the first half of their Florida challenge against the Magic, but that state has never been predictable (ask every politician ever).

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
February 6, 2015, 8:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: ESPN - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

Though this is a rematch of the past two NBA Finals contestants, neither the Miami Heat nor the Spurs have looked like the best team in the NBA. The Miami Heat come to town reeling from a 102-101 loss to the NBA's last place Minnesota Timberwolves, which included an all-time blooper turnover between Norris Cole and Hassan Whiteside with 30 seconds remaining.

The Spurs played well enough to win against the Magic, but have the opportunity to show how much better they can be.

Tony Parker, above all, has an opportunity to shine against either Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole. Neither of them have shown an ability to stop Parker at his best, though we haven't really seen that person in 2015, that "Best Parker." The X-Factor will be NBA2K Spokesman/"Where'd he come from" (now I see how non-Spurs fans feel) guy Whiteside, a human putt-putt-course-windmill, blocking 3.4 shots per game over his last 10. Either getting him into foul trouble early or continuing to shoot 50% from range would be effective strategies for Parker.

The Miami Heat are not a very good rebounding team, though Whiteside has been, at times, dominant (24 aginst the Mavs, 20 against the Wolves) in that area. They also have not been an especially potent offense, and with Dwanye Wade expected to miss a fifth straight game with a hamstring injury, there will be no inspired spark from playing against people his own age (there is still hope that he can return for the ever-important All-Star game).

The Spurs 2nd unit has a chance to thoroughly outclass the Heat bench, especially with the Foreign Legion at full strength with the return of Marco Belinelli. It will be interesting to see how Pop continues to divide the PG minutes for that unit, and whether Manu can be as effective and omnipresent as he was against the Magic.

The Spurs big man rotation will also be crucial, going against Bosh and Whiteside. Can Tim Duncan continue to put up bonafide All-Star numbers (per 36 or otherwise)? Will Tiago Splitter get over his ailments and Popovich's glowering glances?

The deciding factor in this game will ultimately be Kawhi Leonard. If he can be as efficient, active, and tenacious as he was against the Magic, this should be a breeze.

This will be the Spurs final home game before the annual Rodeo Road Trip, next playing in San Antonio on March 4th. The Spurs have gone 4-1 on the mini-homestand before cowboys with actual spurs take over their arena.

vs.

Miami Heat (21-28)

San Antonio Spurs (31-18)

February 6, 2015

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

8:30 PM CDT

TV: ESPN

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Mario Chalmers

PG

Tony Parker

Shabazz Napier

SG

Danny Green

Luol Deng

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Chris Bosh

PF

Tiago Splitter

Hassan Whiteside

C

Tim Duncan


For the Heat perspective, please visit Hot Hot Hoops

Game prediction: Spurs by 9.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com