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2014 NBA Finals Expert Picks

By Eye on Basketball staff
NBA Playoff Predictions: NBA Finals

Gregg Doyel

Ken Berger

Matt Moore

Zach Harper

James Herbert
Heat
vs. Spurs

In 7

In 7

In 6

In 6

In 7

Gregg Doyel

The Spurs beat the Heat in seven games because I'm a sucker for great stories, and Duncan-Ginobili-Popovich winning, and then retiring, is a great story. Spurs beat the Heat in seven games because I'm a sucker for home-court advantage, and the Spurs have it. Spurs beat the Heat in seven games because I'm a sucker who still wonders about Wade's health, Bosh's heart and even LeBron's occasional shrinkage. Spurs in 7

Ken Berger

I picked Spurs in six games a year ago, and if not for Ray Allen, we'd be here talking about redemption for the Heat. Instead, it's the Spurs who are seeking revenge - and a fifth title to cement them among the most prolific dynasties in NBA history. But this series won't be determined by what happened last year. It won't turn on some trite billboard. It'll come down to three key areas: turnovers, rebounding and the 3-point line. The Heat, No. 1 in the league at forcing turnovers this season, have a big advantage here. If Miami's pressure D forces the typically ball-protective Spurs to cough it up at an alarming rate, the extra possessions for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will be too much to overcome. But if the Spurs, who don't create a lot of turnovers themselves, can survive in the takeaway game, their overwhelming advantages in defensive rebounding and 3-point shooting (both their own and the opponent's) will carry the day. The Spurs led the league in 3-point percentage (Miami was 12th) and were 10th in defending the 3-point line (to Miami's 18th). Add that San Antonio allowed the second fewest 3-point attempts in the league and you have a recipe for the Spurs prevailing in a close, back-and-forth series - as long as they take care of the ball. Spurs in 7

Matt Moore

I've never picked against the Miami Heat in the Finals during the Big 3/Triad/James-Bosh-Wade era. That combination of players has always been better than everyone else's. Which is why it's ironic I'm going with Spurs in six, since those three for Miami are having arguably their best season together as a trio. But San Antonio is just too good. They're too deep, too focused, too precise. The Heat will miss Mike Miller, the Spurs will drag down either James or Wade's game just enough to give them the chances they need, and their role players will do what they do. Everything has fallen into place for San Antonio this year. Their first-round struggle with Dallas was more surprise at the Mavericks' defense putting up airs for a few games than anything. The Blazers were wholly unprepared. Ibaka got hurt, and then the rest of the Thunder weren't ready. The Spurs are ready. In the NBA, more than any other sport, matchups matter, individual greatness is key, but above all, the best team wins. San Antonio is just better. Spurs in 6

Zach Harper

I've got the Heat in Game 6 because... well, I'm not quite sure. This series feels as even as it did last year and while most people haven't seen the switch flipped by the Heat's defense yet, I did get to see it first hand in Game 6 against the Pacers last round. It's one thing to do it against the Pacers and another to do it against the Spurs. But surrounding the question of whether or not the Heat can be a great defensive team in this series is LeBron James wanting to be historic. He's the best leader and the best player in this series and that's the tipping point for me. Heat in 6

James Herbert

I can't imagine making a prediction here with any certainty. Last year's matchup was about as even as it could have been, and the sequel could be even closer and better. The most compelling argument for the Spurs is that they're deeper than they were a year ago, and that Miami will miss Mike Miller. The case for the Heat is that their peak is better than San Antonio's. When Miami is forcing turnovers and getting out in transition, it is basically unstoppable. Miller's absence doesn't have to matter if Rashard Lewis and Shane Battier are making open looks and the Heat are making quick decisions. The Spurs' depth doesn't have to matter if LeBron James plays 40-plus minutes per game and Dwyane Wade looks like a superstar for his 35 or so. The Spurs are more than capable of taking this, and it should go seven games if everyone's injury-free, but I'm guessing Miami wins in another classic. Heat in 7

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