The International Blogtable: Serious Heat on Spurs


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 looked pretty unbeatable in Game 7 against Indy. But last week, many of you favored the Spurs in The Finals. How do you feel now?
Pawel Weszka
Editor, NBA Africa

Despite their incredible 27-game winning streak at the end of the regular season, the Heat look very beatable in these Playoffs. It almost feels like they need to be in a win-or-go-home situation to be at their best and just can’t get that kind of energy out of their roster on-call. They love coming back late in games and trap a man with the ball. To make life miserable for Tony Parker in the series will be challenging, but considering that only LeBron James has been playing his best basketball lately, just imagine what will happen if Wade, Bosh and company chip in.
Hanson Guan
Editor, NBA China

The crucial Game 7 was an impressive display of the Heat's strength and character as the defending champs, as they dominated both ends of the court. However, I see the biggest changes emanating from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. LeBron wreaked constant havoc inside, snatching 15 points from 16 free throws, a high in his Playoff campaign this season. A revived Wade claimed 21 points, the first time he scored 20-plus in 13 games. Their combined force has seen the birth of a top-notch heat; it will also be their strongest cards in the face of Spurs' G-D-P trio. As I said last week, Miami still has my vote because James CANNOT afford to lose.
Philipp Dornhegge

I do. But not necessarily because of their offense. That seemed okay, but they looked a little better because of how totally overwhelmed the Pacers looked. Same for their defense. What impressed me was the fire and will to win that the Heat showed. I have rarely seen that these Playoffs, and not at all during the Pacers series. When they play like that, they’re tough to beat. I’m still picking the Spurs, because they should be completely healthy, will not be overwhelmed by the big stage and have the best pick’n’roll in the game. But it’s going to be a lot closer now.
Stefanos Triantafyllos
Editor, NBA Greece

Sports, as they say, have a short memory. Everybody seems to have already forgotten that the series went to seven games and only remembers the blow-out win in the last match-up. But, that is not how things work. Winning by 20 or with a last-minute buzzer-beater irrelevant in Playoff basketball. We count the 'W's, not the point margin, so no, for me, nothing has changed: the Heat are still the reigning champions, leaving the underdog label to the Spurs. Don't forget the Texans have to win one on the road if they want to win another ring. They still have a pretty good chance to put on another ring, if they manage to hit the weak spots of Miami (boards, low-post defense) and set a tone with their pick-n-roll game.
Karan Madhok
Blogger, NBA India

Miami’s blowout was impressive, sure, especially since they reawakened their championship-level defence and saw Dwyane Wade show some signs of life alongside the dominant-as-ever LeBron. If the Big Three can play at a high level and the entire team can get back to their defensive comfort zone, the Heat will certainly edge closer to matching the Spurs neck-to-neck. But ‘edging closer’ might not be enough. The Pacers – even in defeat – have exposed Miami’s weaknesses on the inside, along with the inconsistency of their surrounding cast. The Spurs will figure out a way to further exploit these weaknesses and get the edge.
Davide Chinellato
Editor, NBA Italia

I still think the Heat are the favorite, but after watching Miami struggling in the series vs. Indiana my guess is the Spurs have a real chance to go to Game 7. The Heat are still my winners, mainly because of LeBron. They will have trouble against the Spurs as they did with the Pacers, but my guess is they are gonna repeat after seven intense games.
Aldo Avinante

Despite the resilient and admirable effort of the Indiana Pacers, it was kind of expected from them to falter down the stretch. They are still an inexperienced team in terms of taking pressure of that magnitude. Unlike their next opponent, the Heat will have to contend against a highly experienced squad led by their own version of the 'Big Three' in what will probably be their final stand (although they have proven everybody wrong yearly). Pop has already studied the Heat thoroughly, and the Spurs coaching staff will know every nook and cranny in their offensive sets, defensive plays and tendencies. Miami will always be the favorite to win the championship as long as they have their Big 3 together, but if there is one team best equipped to stop the rampaging South Beach squad, the quiet and confident Spurs is that team. It will be a battle of attrition with the Heat relying on their defense and the brilliance of Lebron James while the Spurs will employ impeccable teamwork and smart basketball to counter the impending dynasty of Miami.
Selçuk Aytekin
Editor, NBA Turkiye

NO…Parker and Ginobili make the Spursa very powerful team.On Miami's side, LeBron is always good but Wade and Bosh are still questionable. Dwyane Wade was just saying, “There will be some moments next series where I won’t be looking so great,” so I believe San Antonio's still the favorite.