Heat - Spurs Game 1 preview: Spurs rested, but ready?

Heat - Spurs Game 1 preview: Spurs rested, but ready?
June 6, 2013, 11:00 am
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MIAMI — The long layoff after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies brings a well-rested San Antonio Spurs into the NBA Finals.

The Miami Heat were able to hold off the Indiana Pacers in a rousing Game 7 home win with the kind of rhythm that has been seldom seen from them in the postseason.

But did the Spurs have too much time off?

And the Heat, could they have benefited from a little more time in between the Conference finals ending and the NBA Finals beginning?

Answers to those questions - and many others - will be revealed tonight when the Heat host the Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Miami guard Ray Allen, who had 10 points for the Heat in their 99-76 series-clinching win over Indiana, said he prefers to quickly go from one playoff series to the next.

"What I've learned, I like pretty much going into a series after having played a six or seven game (series)," Allen said. "In the playoffs, you do fall out of rhythm a little bit. I do like that the fact that we played, we get right back into what we're doing."

Getting back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007 was a jubilant moment for the Spurs. But there wasn't much fun in having to wait almost two weeks to play again.

"The 10-day layoff didn't help," said Spurs forward and New Hampshire native Matt Bonner. "[Excitment] just builds everyday."

But the time has finally arrived to play, with Game 1 being the latest matchup to challenge the Rest vs. Rhythm theory of sports.

Here are some of the key points heading into Game 1 of the NBA Finals with the Spurs seeking to set into motion what they hope will be a fifth NBA title while the Heat begin their journey towards what they believe will be back-to-back NBA titles.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: There has been lots of talk about Big Three and legacies for both San Antonio and Miami leading up to tonight's game. But like most playoff series, often it's role players that decide who comes away victorious. For the Spurs, keep an eye on Danny Green. For Miami, former Celtic Ray Allen could be a difference-maker as well.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Tony Parker vs Mario Chalmers: No Heat player catches more heat (pun totally intended) for the most minor transgressions, than Chalmers. But him getting torched by Parker tonight is understandable. Parker has been doing that throughout the playoffs against better point guards.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Health issues have limited Dwyane Wade's effectiveness, but Chris Bosh? He has no excuse. After a regular season in which he was so much better than he was given credit for being, Bosh has become a wild card of sorts that no one has any idea of what to expect.

STAT TO TRACK: After giving up 39.9 points in the paint during the regular season - only six teams gave up fewer points - the Miami Heat's lack of a true inside presence defensively hurt them in their series with Indiana. It will likely be an even bigger factor against San Antonio which ranked sixth during the regular season with 44.6 points in the paint scored per game. Leading the inside scoring barrage for the Spurs is Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, along with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili's dribble penetration for lay-ups and floaters.

PREDICTION: Spurs in six.