The International Blogtable: Rust vs. Rest in Finals


Every week, the International Blogtable brings together some of the best basketball minds from around the world, posing a burning question to writers and editors from the NBA's fleet of international web destinations. It's a BIG world, after all.
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The Heat were taken to the limit in the conference finals. The Spurs are well-rested after a sweep. What do you expect from Game 1 of The Finals?
Pawel Weszka
Editor, NBA Africa

Way too much rest for the Spurs, but an awesome opportunity to study the defending NBA champions for Pop. I expect an early Spurs lead with the Heat stealing the opener at home eventually. The ball will move a lot on the San Antonio side, but the Heat will be ready to force some turnovers down the stretch and test Tony Parker’s creativity. Splitter and Duncan will dominate the paint and it will take LeBron to bail out Miami again as Spoelstra will be getting ready his big men for Game 2.
Hanson Guan
Editor, NBA China

My biggest expectation is James, who's been waiting 6 years for a chance to revenge, will play like an MVP in Game 1 to tame Tim Duncan and his Spurs. The Spurs have changed little compared to six years ago, but James has a whole different team around him. Now he’s got more help.
Philipp Dornhegge

A team like the Spurs can never have too much rest. I look at it the other way: They’ve had a ton of time scouting the Heat in detail and preparing for them. And nobody is better at exploiting an opponent’s weaknesses and taking away his strength than Coach Pop. The Heat, on the other hand, still have to be concerned about Wade’s knee and Bosh’s ankle, which had zero time to get any better. Devoid of any home-court pressure, I think the Spurs will come out flying and maybe steal Game 1.
Stefanos Triantafyllos
Editor, NBA Greece

Fact one: the Spurs' superstars need their rest. It's something they will cherish when they start pounding against the Heat in consecutive games. Miami thrives on one-on-one offensive basketball, making a statement with their small-ball strategy of guard-to-guard screening. So "fresh legs" is the first checkbox on the list of coach Popovich. Moreover the "sweep" over the Grizzlies gave the Spurs the spare time to work on their game-plan in full detail, a luxury Eric Spoelstra's squad doesn't have. Fact two: Τhe Heat found their groove in the Game 7 and are heading to the Finals with a boost to their confidence. But, if I had to choose between the rest of an experienced team and the hype of an up-tempo team, I would go with the ice-pads on the knees
Karan Madhok
Blogger, NBA India

It will be a battle between a team that has had ample time to rest and plot their next move versus a team still glowing with positive momentum after an impressive Game 7 victory. For most teams, a rest of 10 days means rust, and it could take time to get back in the flow of the game. But the Spurs aren’t like most teams: without this rest, the older squad would’ve run out of gas early; instead, they will be fully amped and prepared. Miami has been concentrating so long on Indiana that they may not be able to handle San Antonio’s offensive assault in Game 1: I will give the older Spurs the edge in Game 1.
Davide Chinellato
Editor, NBA Italia

Game 1, to me, will be another demonstration of power by Miami. LeBron & Co. are still pretty fired-up by a Game 7 victory vs. Indiana and the Spurs had a 10-day rest. They're an old team and some rest can help, but I'm afraid they'll have lost something in their time on the couch watching their next opponents and that could hurt them in Game 1
Aldo Avinante

Watching Gregg Popovich for a long time now, I believe he could not ask for a better scenario for his squad. Pop is known to rest his players in the regular season in favor of protecting their health for the brutal postseason grind. With Miami taking seven games to dispatch a very tough Indiana squad, it will have an effect -- minimal or not -- on their mental and physical stamina. Meanwhile, the Spurs have had a chance to recuperate and rest their older players. Pop will never let his squad be out of sync and their offensive and defensive game plan will be perfect for the upcoming series. They may struggle in the first few minutes of Game 1 but once they remember it's just another basketball game, the machine-like approach of the whole Spurs system will kick in.
Selçuk Aytekin
Editor, NBA Turkiye

Statistics are saying that in three of the previous four years that the Spurs won the title, they had at least seven days off before the Finals. And I do not see them as old, just experienced. San Antonio should be 100 percent ready for the first game.