Mar 6, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) battle for a loose ball during the second half at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 111-87. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Daily NBA Fix 6-4-14: Roundtable 2014 NBA Finals Predictions

Welcome to this special edition of the Daily NBA Fix, another 5-On-5 HoopsHabit Roundtable! In the last round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, our writers gave their predictions for the conference finals. With the 2014 NBA Finals rematch set to tip off tomorrow night between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, we’re back to do it again. Before we get started, let’s take a look at how everyone fared with their predictions to this point. As you can tell, we’re all still pretty close to even:

Michael Dunlap, Hoops Habit Editor-in-Chief: 11-3

Phil Watson, Hoops Habit Assistant Editor: 11-3

Gerald Bourguet, Hoops Habit Assistant (To The Regional) Editor: 11-3

Shane Young, Hoops Habit Staff Writer: 10-4

Nathan Giese, Hoops Habit Staff Writer: 11-3

Will LeBron James and the Heat cement their place in history with a three-peat? Will Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich ride off into the sunset by exacting revenge for last year’s Finals defeat and winning their fifth NBA title? Will Tony Parker be at full strength? Is Dwyane Wade going to be a difference maker after looking much healthier this postseason? Is Kawhi Leonard going to step up on the big stage again? No one knows the answers to these questions yet. But here are our best attempts to predict the future.

2014 NBA Finals

Oct 19, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives to the basket as San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) applies pressure during the first quarter at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (2) Miami Heat:
Regular season head-to-head record: 1-1 all

Dunlap: One would think the Spurs have all the motivation here, after losing to Miami in the 2013 NBA Finals. I actually think the Heat have more motivation, because they’re up against history, hate and hubris. Miami has the two best players in this series in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and they’ve also got the most veteran role players. The Spurs’ inside advantage won’t be enough and Tony Parker’s ankle injury is worrisome. Not to put any shade on what the Spurs have done over the years, but they aren’t stopping the Heat. It’s going to be two straight years of huge disappointment, no matter what Tim Duncan says. Prediction: Heat in 6

Watson: I’ve ridden this theory this far, so it remains — the Heat are the champs until they’re not the champs. Prediction: Heat in 6

Bourguet: If the 2013 NBA Finals were set in the Game of Thrones universe, it would’ve been the jaw-dropping duel between The Mountain and the Red Viper: LeBron James is the terrifying, physically imposing specimen that has spared no mercy in his last two seasons, while the Spurs are mostly foreigners that play fluidly and beautifully, as renowned for their reputation as winners as Prince Oberyn is for his graceful skills as a warrior. In 2013, the NBA Finals went much like the show’s duel went (SPOILER ALERT): The Spurs had the Mountain on the ropes, but they fumbled the killing stroke. Then this happened in the final moments of Game 6 and Game 7:

I don’t see 2014 being the same story. Oberyn’s brains may be splattered all over the pavement of the Red Keep, but the Spurs came back stronger this season and when you combine their championship pedigree with extra motivation for revenge, this team won’t hesitate to land the final blow this time. A lot of this depends on Tony Parker’s health and no one can deny the Heat have the best player on the floor. But consider three things: 1) The Heat don’t have Mike Miller anymore and Shane Battier is a shell of himself this time around, 2) The 2-2-1-1-1 format provides San Antonio with a big home court advantage and 3) You don’t want to play a pissed off and motivated Tim Duncan (no matter what age he is). The team that nearly dethroned a superior Heat team in six games last year is better this year. Prediction: Spurs in 7

Young: All of that basketball since Oct. 29 for the inevitable rematch? Get out of here! But in all seriousness, this series is for more than just a trophy. Legacies are at stake. Not in a bad way, however. LeBron, with a three-peat, would join some insane company. Duncan, with his fifth title, would join Kobe Bryant as a superstars in this era with five ch’ips. When it comes down to it, this series is also about more than pick-and-roll action, although that covers a lot. It’s about 3-point shooting, getting enough space for your guys to come through. Ray Allen, Marco Belinelli, Danny Green, Shane Battier, we’re looking at you! Tony Parker is feeling better about his ankle and Popovich is feeling amazing about grabbing those 62 wins in the regular season. Why? It gave him the first two games at home and a possible Game 7 in Texas. It won’t go the distance, though. Prediction: Spurs in 6

Giese: Two legacies are on the line for two different Big Threes. Will the Spurs’ trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker win their fifth ring? Will the Heat’s trio of LeBron, Wade and Bosh make it three in a row, doing exactly what they said they’d do when they got together? Depending on who wins or loses this battle, they both could face massive team overhauls this summer. If San Antonio wins, then maybe Duncan and Ginobilli think that they’ve accomplished all they can in the NBA and decide to call it a career. If they lose, then they probably stick together for one last shot.

If Miami wins, they join the ranks of few teams to win three straight championships and rest on their future with the offseason decisions of LeBron, Wade and Bosh. The Spurs appear to be heavy favorites in this series, but it’s really hard to say who really has the edge. San Antonio is playing beautiful basketball since Game 6 against the Mavericks but Miami has lost a total of three times in the playoffs. Both are locked in and know what’s at stake. My gut tells me San Antonio, but the rest of me thinks “Don’t count out the Heat for the first time in four years.” My gut may be big, but it’s been known to lie to me. A healthier than normal Wade could be what brings the Heat back to dominant form. If Miami wins the series, it’s going to come in six games because they won’t be winning a Game 7 on the road. Prediction: Heat in 6

What do you think? Are you going with the best player in the world or the best coach in the NBA? Let us know your predictions in the comments or holler at us on Twitter!

Tags: 2014 Nba Finals 2014 NBA Finals Predictions Daily Nba Fix Heat Vs Spurs Miami Heat San Antonio Spurs

  • Robert Morgan

    OKC has the best player in the NBA not named LBJ, and two more players better than either Wade or Bosh, including the best rim defender in the NBA. I think OKC-Miami would have been a heck of a 7-game series, but it’s not happening because the Spurs beat a full-strength OKC team, on OKC’s home court, in an elimination game with OKC’s season on the line. And that was after brushing aside a Portland team that was substantially better than any team in the East except Miami. Yes, Parker has a sore ankle, but that probably matters less than most folks outside of SA think. I don’t think the Heat can beat the Spurs at home, but I do think the Spurs can beat the Heat in Miami. You do the math.

    • Tyrone Bowman

      Robert I totally agree with you. I’m thinking series will be over in 5 if Miami wins Game 3. The Spurs aren’t going to have as many lapses as they did last year and definitely won’t give up any five-point leads in the final minute. The Heat are last in rebounding and San Antonio is #1 in assists. Those two stats will be huge. As well Wade and James might be the two best players on the court, but they won’t be the two best players in the series. Duncan or Parker will rise to the occasion and Kawhi Leonard will solely be focused on not letting LeBron get going.

    • Kalapati

      I beg to disagree with you! Sorry KD may named MVP this season but you can’t deny the fact to witness that LBJ is still the dominant player in the league. KD is not as strong as LBJ when palying on the floor. Who among spurs players can equate to LBJ’s competitiveness? NADA! Heat in 6 or 7.

  • Kano Kash

    Miami wins in 6 period San Antonio Struggled against the Mavericks in a 7 game series. Portland has little playoff experience and OKC is one dimensional it’s either ballhog Westbrook or Kevin the choker Durant it’s predictable. They also played the first 2 without their defensive anchor which killed the series. Miami is not of those. Miami is king until they lose and should not be counted out. And as much as people want to shrug the east Brooklyn was the team that swept the heat and have deceiving numbers they had a terrible start but a solid closing in the season they also beat all the elite teams in the west and east in the season as well there weren’t scrubs. And the pacers were suppose to step it up for revenge redemption blah blah blah same story with San Antonio I got a re for you its Repeat of last year and 3 peat

    • Tyrone Bowman

      You do know Miami played a 7th seed Charlotte and 6th seed Brooklyn, who weren’t even close to making the West Playoffs, in the first two rounds and then arguably the most flawed No. 1 seed in the history of the NBA Postseason? Indiana nearly lost to an undermanned Atlanta Hawks team lol. The Spurs haven’t played lousy basketball the last three months. They’ve been focused from Day 1 of the season, but we shall see who is right and who is full of it.

  • Cardinal8

    Giese needs to read up on his history a little bit before writing about the Spurs. Parker and Ginobili only have 3 titles. Duncan has four. When your whole reasoning is based off of something that is not even true then you can not possibly predict something accurately. I do not mind if you say the Heat will win in six. It is a smart pick they have 2on the last 2. But when you start off buy using a legacy perspective, at least get the legacies correct!