June 05, 2013
Dwyane Wade will be looking for his third NBA title when the Heat face the Spurs in the Finals.
Walter Iooss Jr./SI

MAHONEY: Why the Heat will return to form in the Finals

The Spurs' Manu Ginobili (from left), Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will make their fourth Finals appearance together this week.
Robert Seale/SI

Mahoney: False. Wade and Bosh have fallen on tough times, but they are still productive and valuable players under most normal contexts -- to say nothing of James' dominion over the entire game. Because of that, the Spurs not only lack in the top-end talent to match James but also come up a little short in comparisons between third wheels. Ginobili is terrific in his own right, but he is confined to a smaller role than Bosh because of limited minutes, he is a lesser defender and he can be a bit too wild with his shot selection and passing at times. If I were a coach, I would happily settle for either threesome. But if forced to choose, I'm still taking Miami's top three.

Ray Allen has struggled with his shot in the playoffs, shooting just 38.9 percent from the floor.
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Mahoney: I'll cheat a bit and choose the Heat's three-headed, spot-shooting monster of Allen, Shane Battier and Mike Miller. All three serve functionally similar roles within Miami's offense, and in this series I expect them to play a significant role in terms of points scored and opportunities created. Only five teams allowed fewer three-point attempts than San Antonio during the regular season, but Miami is always capable of unsettling those perimeter defenders and creating open looks for its top three-point threats.

LeBron James is averaging 26.2 points, 6.4 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game in the postseason.
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Mahoney: LeBron James. I wish it were more complex than that, but James' sweeping ability to change the course of any play on either end of the court looms over the series. Adjustments and matchup manipulation will help dictate the victors on individual possessions, but that can't soon replace the value of Miami having such an intelligent, adaptable player at the center of everything.

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