Heat vs Spurs: 2013 NBA Finals Preview

2013 NBA FinalsPeter Holt and I talked about getting together in the Finals in 2000,” Miami Heat managing general partner Mickey Arison said during Monday night’s Eastern Conference Championship trophy presentation. “It took fourteen years, but we’re looking forward to welcoming San Antonio to Miami.”

While this specific match-up might not be fourteen years in the making, the sentiment still carries weight. This was the match-up many people expected to see last season, before Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder crashed the party. This match-up features two organizations that took divergent paths to the same destination, Miami building its core largely through free agency while San Antonio opted to develop a core through the draft.

“We think it’s fitting to face them,” Heat head coach Erik Spolestra said of facing the Spurs in the Finals.

Spolestra harped on the “similar fabric” woven into the tapestry of the two clubs, and referenced the “mutual respect and consistency of culture”. He went on to say the team “wanted to face the Spurs” in 2007, but their championship defense fell considerably short.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” league MVP LeBron James said of his opportunity to exercise the demons of those 2007 Finals with this 2013 series.

And these 2013 NBA Finals present an intriguingly similar set of approaches to the game. The teams’ playoff statistics are near mirror images, as they are within one percentage point of each other in Field Goal percentage (MIA 47.2%; SA 46.9%), Three Point percentage (MIA 35.6%; SA 36.2%) and Opponent Field Goal percentage (MIA 42.9%; SA 42%). The teams are also within one point in Offensive Rebounds per game (MIA 9.6; SA 9.3), Plus/Minus (MIA 9.6; SA 10.1), and Assist-to-Turnover Ratio (MIA 1.5; SA 1.96).

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