It’s a Game 7 that shouldn’t have been given the San Antonio Spurs led the Miami Heat by 13 points to start the final quarter of their last meeting in The Finals, the NBA’s championship series.
Give the Heat, led by Akron’s LeBron James, for ratcheting up what had been a mediocre effort to that point. It’s amazing that desperation has that kind of effect on even pro athletes.
But is the Tony Parker and Tim Duncan led Spurs in that same position heading into tonight’s final game which tips off at 9 p.m.? ESPN’s analysts offer their take on what they expect tonight:
Jeff Van Gundy (The Finals on ABC analyst): “Viewers should watch the first quarter for the San Antonio Spurs. Will they have a hangover from the Game 6 loss or will they be mentally over it and ready for the tip? Also, the Spurs will have to figure out how to get Tony Parker going with LeBron James guarding him.”
Hubie Brown (NBA Finals on ESPN Radio analyst): “San Antonio’s perimeter players – Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Tony Parker – scored 74 points and shot 60 percent in Game 5. In Game 6, they were 9-35 shooting and scored 31 points and shot 26 percent. That has to improve in order for them to win on the road.”
Antonio Davis (ESPN studio analyst): “I think for the Spurs, they need Manu and Tony to find a way to be consistent for 48 minutes or they have to work off of each other. In Game 5, Manu had a great first half, which allowed Tony to rest the hamstring a little bit and have an effective second half. In Game 6, neither of them were really efficient. Manu and Tony have to find a way to be consistent for 48 minutes. Tim Duncan has to have a repeat performance. And then, the supporting cast have to find a way to be solid. “
“For Miami, I would say LeBron James is going to have to force the issue early. Mario, Ray and Mike have to shoot the ball well to create space for LeBron to operate. Chris Bosh has to have double-digit rebounding and Dwyane Wade has to bring all the intangibles -- the steals, blocks and a few rebounds. If that happens, they’ll have a good game. I predict Heat by four.”
Bruce Bowen (host of the podcast ESPN Lockdown) on role players: “Ray Allen has to be able to knock down shots, early on. They were fortunate enough to get a victory and Ray didn’t play so well so that will be motivation for him to play better. Mario Chalmers had a good game but he has to do a better job as far as getting his teammates involved and not turning the ball over as a point guard. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have to do those special things they do.”
“Danny Green has had a good series up until last night. He needs to find a way to utilize them taking him off the three point line to make himself an asset. Gary Neal needs to make shots. If he’s not making shots, he’s not giving you too much. That’s what they need from him. On both teams, the big three have to be special tomorrow. No if ands or butts about it.”