NBA Finals preview: How the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs match up on the court

June 5, 2013

BREAKING IT DOWN: HEAT VS. SPURS

Michael Lee analyzes the positional player-to-player matchups in the NBA Finals.

Center: Chris Bosh vs. Tiago Splitter

Bosh failed to score in double figures in the final four games of the Eastern Conference finals, averaging just seven points on 23.5 percent shooting and five rebounds. Splitter is rugged defensively and has shot 58 percent in the playoffs. Advantage: Heat

Small forward: LeBron James vs. Kawhi Leonard

James continues to be a force of nature in the postseason: He has averaged 26.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 51 percent. The 6-foot-7 Leonard is an aggressive, rangy defender with huge hands and a 7-4 wingspan and has guarded Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Mike Conley this postseason. Advantage: Heat

Power forward: Tim Duncan vs. Udonis Haslem

In 22 NBA Finals games, Duncan has averaged 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and three blocks. His averages per 36 minutes (18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds) are almost identical to his production in 1999, when he won his first championship. The 6-8 Haslem gives the Heat a physical interior defender, and he has proved capable of hitting open shots when called upon. Advantage: Spurs

Shooting guard: Dwyane Wade vs. Danny Green

Though he is averaging just 14.1 points this postseason and struggling to get to the rim, Wade is feeling more confident after summoning the strength to score a playoff-high 21 points in Game 7 against Indiana. But Wade’s troublesome right knee has raised concerns. Green is a solid defender and a dangerous threat from three-point range. Advantage: Heat

Point guard: Tony Parker vs. Mario Chalmers

Miami has struggled with containing quick, scoring point guards and Parker has been the best player not named LeBron James in the playoffs. Chalmers is a feisty competitor, but the Heat will probably counter some with backup Norris Cole and use James in spells to defend Parker. Advantage: Spurs

Bench: depth vs. shooters

The Spurs have been able to advance through the first three rounds without having Manu Ginobili at his best as he deals with a nagging hamstring injury, but they have been able to get timely production from the likes of Gary Neal, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner. Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Mike Miller haven’t been consistent in the playoffs but still give Miami enough of a perimeter threat to keep defenses honest, and big man Chris Andersen has been a running can of energy drink with his untamed hustle and enthusiasm. Advantage: Even

Coach: Gregg Popovich vs Erik Spoelstra

Popovich has a chance to join Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach and John Kundla as the only coaches in NBA history to win five championships with the same team. He has had 10 days to prepare for Miami. Spoelstra has improved since Rick Carlisle outsmarted him in the NBA Finals two years ago. Advantage: Spurs

Prediction

The Post’s Michael Lee is picking the Miami Heat in seven games over the San Antonio Spurs.

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