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PBT Extra: Who has upper hand in Finals now?

Jun 9, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

Is there anything Gregg Popovich can scheme, any steps  the Spurs can come up with to slow LeBron James?

That’s the first question Kay Adams throws at me in today’s PBT Extra, one where I am on the phone from San Antonio (right before heading to the airport and Miami). We talk NBA Finals and who has the edge after the first two games.

It has to be Miami, which has yet to lose at home these playoffs. San Antonio has to find a way to steal one on the road.

The problem, as Popovich noted in his press conference, is that you can double LeBron and take the ball out of his hands, but then he finds the open man and someone like Chris Bosh knocks down a key shot. There are no easy, good answers for the Spurs.

  1. timcast12 - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    Spurs will win

    • buffalowned - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      You made some great arguments there. Thanks for sharing that.

  2. bougin89 - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    If Lebron is going to hit jumpers like he did in game two there is literally nothing you can scheme or gameplan to stop him. At that point you have to hope(hope!?) you can outscore him/the Heat.

    Leonard and Green need to try to stay out of foul trouble, at least they can step out on Lebron unlike Diaw who is basically letting him shoot from outside.

    If you have Leonard shadowing James off the ball you’re taking another help defender away from Wade. It really is a pick your poison with Lebron…

    • cruzan80 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      “If Lebron is going to hit jumpers like he did in game two…”

      He won’t.

      The Spurs & any team for that matter will live with him taking those shots every game. Thing is Lebron knows so he probably won’t take them either.

      This series is gonna boil down to which TEAM is better. Not LBJ vs Parker or Duncan.

      Nobody has the “upper hand” thus far. Do we really believe that the Spurs can’t win a game in Miami???? Even the most irrational Heat fans know better to think that.

      This series has 7 games written all over it.

      • deeballer - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:04 PM

        Lebron knows that the Spurs are going to give him that jumper in this series. Do you think that he hasn’t figured that out all year and hasn’t prepared for it? Look at his efficiency rating. He’s been ready all year for that space they’re going to give him. The thing is, he’ll shoot when it’s right for him when he wants to. He’s not going to get baited by the Spurs.

      • lenbias34pt - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        Lebron did exactally what the Spurs wanted him to do (shoot Jump shots) in game 2, and he killed them….so that is a touch disheartning.
        In short:
        If Lebron drains Jump shots like that, the Spurs will lose.
        If the Heat shoot 53 % for the field (see game 2)the spurs will lose.
        If the Heat out rebound the Spurs (see game 2) the spurs will lose.

        All that said, those 3 things are not likely to happen to often in this series.

        Miami having won at SA obviously has the edge right now, but it isn’t to difficult to see how SA can win this thing. For one thing they should build a lead in the first half on a consistent basis. That is certainly available.

      • deeballer - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        Lebron knows that the Spurs are going to give him that jumper in the finals. Do you think that he hasn’t figured that out all year and hasn’t prepared for it? He’s been ready all year for that space they’re going to give him. The thing is, he’ll shoot when it’s right for him when he wants to. He’s not going to get baited by the Spurs.

      • bougin89 - Jun 10, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        If I were Pop I’d try keeping Lebron out of the paint as well. I would have Leonard shadow the crap out of him though and try to keep the ball out of his hands as much as possible. The Spurs defensive rotations would suffer but I’d go down trying to make Wade, Bosh, etc. beat me. Even then though, Lebron might still beat them.

    • wordyduke - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      Foul trouble, injuries, luck — the imponderables. Anything can happen. Spurs look a little better on paper, but angels fear to tread.

  3. jzone954 - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Miami hello!!!! 2 games on SA floor in which they were both in and the one he leaves with cramps with 7 mins, that’s the game they loose. Miami plain and simple. Miami will take both games in Miami heading back to SA up 3-1.

    • cruzan80 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      “Do we really believe that the Spurs can’t win a game in Miami???? Even the most irrational Heat fans know better to think that. ”

      Ooooops…..I stand corrected.

      • scorp16 - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:38 PM

        San Antonio is 3-5 on the road these playoffs. Not exactly a road juggernaut. Can they win in Miami…..sure. But it will be a lot more difficult than winning in San Antonio. Don’t kid yourself thinking the 15 point win in game one is any kind of sign. When Lebron left the entire complexity of the game changed. San Antonio was down 7 when Lebron came out the first time and just for the sake of argument let’s say San Antonio would have overcome a 7 point deficit in the 4th with LeBron healthy. If, and it’s a big IF they would have won playing against a healthy LeBron, it would have come to down to the last seconds.

        The Spurs are going to have to play a lot better in games 3 and 4 than they played in San Antonio. Miami is a different team at home. The role players always step up. You will see a 20+ game from Rio (he’s done it every year). You’ll see Ray hit 6 threes, and more importantly you will see Miami in transition. It won’t hurt that their D will ratchet it up. You see…that gear everyone always talks about…..well it gets shifted on in Miami.

      • kinggw - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        They can win a game, they could also lose both. I don’t know why some of you act like the Spurs are invincible.

        There is a reason they were taken 7 games by the Mavs and pushed by the Thunder. They’re good, but not as good as some of you think.

  4. aboogy123456 - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Spurs have the upper hand IMO. LeBron played amazing throughout the game, and the spurs still had a chance to win. I think the matchups generally favor the spurs, and like Bougin said, Leonard and Green are their best defenders and it’s important for them to stay out of foul trouble.

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      Never mind that the Heat should have game 1, if not for crampgate.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        If you name it after the haters it would be “Losergate”!

      • aboogy123456 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:26 PM

        And if the spurs scored 200 points in game 2 they would’ve won as well.

  5. obmig - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    As the series gets extended, the Spurs have less and less chance of getting it done. Their old legs vs the freak that is LBJ will fail if this goes 7.

    • spursareold - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      Uh, those “old legs” go 10 players deep. Miami goes 6.5. Tell me who’s going to be tired, again? The only players in your Finals rotation that are UNDER 30 are Bron and Chalmers, and your rotation is very short.

      Duncan 38
      Manu 37
      Parker 32
      Diaw 31
      Kawhi 22
      Mills 26
      Splitter 29
      Green 27
      Beli 28

      LeBron 29
      Bosh 30
      Wade 32
      Shuttlesworth 38
      Birdbrain 35
      Lewis 34
      Chalmers 28

      • buffalowned - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        We’ll see how Timmy looks tuesday on the road after playing the same minutes as LeBron in game 2. He is your biggest mismatch and you know it. Good luck.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Just want to let you know I’m partial to western clubs, especially West Texas clubs, being a west of I-5 type guy. Heck: as long as it’s not New Yawk, right!!! Go Spurs. Sorry Heat fans, but unless there’s a smaller font, I cannot type Go Heat! Nope. No hablo espanol. No se nada, no entiendo nada. Mexican seafood in San Antonio!

      • scorp16 - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        Oh, by the way…you left out Norris Cole, James Jones, Shane Battier, and Udonis Haslem. That makes 11 deep now doesn’t it……Oops

  6. jzone954 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Dating back to last finals the last 4 games Lebron has dropped over 30 pts and 3 of them all wins expect for him cramping in this years game 1 with 7 min left and he still had 25 pts. Miamis for this. Of course anybody knows the spurs can win a game in Miami…..they won’t though

  7. jzone954 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    We even haven’t seen a bigtime game from Wade or Bosh yet, we all know those are coming. 2 major points. Miamis trasition game at home, and I don’t believe the spurs 3 PT percentage will be as high on the road.

  8. antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    People don’t want to accept this, but it’s absolutely true: The Heat have always had the upper hand in these finals. They will always have the upper hand regardless of where they’re playing or who has home court advantage. #6 gives them the eternal advantage.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      That Tony Parker folded like a crepe comment made me so hungry! But then the vagina comments…

  9. jzone954 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Got this*

  10. goldmember21 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Miami in 6. Spurs are flawed.

  11. charlutes - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Well the Heat have home court, other than that there is no advantage. They’re tied at one game each…

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      Geezus! Should have read your excellent comment and saved mine for…the trash!

  12. jimeejohnson - Jun 9, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Hate (whoops: that’s a dirty word around here) to be Captain Obvious, but when a series is tied one game apiece NOBODY has the upper hand, although home court advantage means so much at this, the pinnacle level of basketball. Also admit to being in Captain Obvious mode when predicting the rest of this series is going to be GLORIOUS! Neither team is going to back down. DWade might get physical. Tim Duncan might do it all. Manu’s gonna make some incredible plays and LeBron’s gonna be LeBron. The two “soft” dudes, Tony Parker and Chris Bosh could be the difference makers. Captain Obvious gotta go.

  13. newyorkball82 - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    The Spurs have the ability to overcome a momentum swing in a series. Look at the last series against OKC. It’s gonna come back to SA 2-2.

    • heat256 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      MIA is quite different from OKC. Westbrook and Durant took the majority of the shots and the ball stuck more in their hands as a result. No one on the Heat is taking 25-30 shots a game. That’s not their style. If Parker is defended well, they can’t move the ball as well and they are a horrible iso team. I personally feel the Spurs’ best chance to steal one is tomorrow. Should Miami go up 2-1, it’s entirely possible that they will go all out to go up 3-1 knowing they have a chance to close out SA on their floor in game 6. Can the Spurs take 1 or 2 games in MIA? Yes, and I would never doubt they could as they are a great team. But they are not invincible. I think MIA can be even better defensively than they have shown and if so, that is not good for SA.

  14. newyorkball82 - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    The heat aren’t OKC. OKC beat the spurs by 9 and by 13…. Also nobody said the spurs were invincible. People leave that to the Miami fans to say about the heat.

  15. ogbobbydeas - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    The refs have the upper hand , no way they tarnish LeEgos so called legacy. He is the face of the nba and they cant have him be his brooding whiny loser self for at least another year


  16. jbeagles23 - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    The heat have ruined the spurs rotations like they do to everyone. Splitter and bellinelli are useless in this series. With bosh and rashard in the corners the spurs can’t make lebron a jump shooter because the lane is wide up and not one spur can man up on him one on one

  17. Miami305 - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:49 AM

    If the Heat can keep Parker out of the paint and not allow Green to get hot behind the line, they win game 3 and eventually the Finals.

  18. jzone954 - Jun 10, 2014 at 5:12 AM

    OKC couldn’t beat SA at SA and got blown out both games there with the MVP on the floor. Miami beat SA at SA game 2 and was masterfully beating SA game 1 by 7 then Lebron started to feel he was getting cramped up, came out the game , had to go back in then completely cramped up and left with 7 min in the game. I mean who knows what would’ve happened had Lebron been in the game down the stretch , probably the same result as game 2 and what’s going to be the same result in games 3 and 4. SA isn’t beating Miami in Miami. HEAT won’t let this to back to SA for 7:

  19. newyorkball82 - Jun 10, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    And if they do, you’ll be eating those words and looking for excuses as to why. San Antonio can beat Miami in Miami.

  20. golfrangeman - Jun 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    @ogbobby the only whiny loser is you. Just can’t take LBJ and Miami winning another one. Have you mommy get your bottle,take a nap and maybe mommy will change your diaper when you wake up.

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