TrueHoop: 2013 NBA Finals

Will Game 7 rewrite record books?

June, 20, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information

Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesTonight's Game 7 will be an epic battle between the Heat and Spurs.
We are down to the final game of the 2012-13 season to decide the NBA champion.

Let’s take a look at what a win would mean for the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 tonight at AmericanAirlines Arena (9 ET on ABC).

What’s at stake for the Heat?
The Heat are trying to become the first team to repeat as NBA champions since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009-10 and the first Eastern Conference team to win back-to-back titles since the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls won three in a row from 1996-98.

With a Heat win, LeBron James would be a two-time NBA champion and would join Bill Russell and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to win back-to-back regular season MVPs and NBA titles.

The Heat went 66-16 this season, a win percentage of .805. They are trying to avoid having the best regular-season record by any NBA Finals loser.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the highest win percentage by a team that lost in the NBA Finals is .797 by the 1949-50 Syracuse Nationals.

The Heat suffered a 36-point defeat (113-77) in Game 3 of this series. If the Heat win Game 7, they would become the first team to win an NBA title after losing a game by 35 or more points at any point in the postseason.

What’s at stake for the Spurs?
The Spurs are seeking to win their fifth NBA title. They would be the fourth franchise to win at least five rings, along with the Celtics (17), Lakers (16) and Bulls (6).

The Spurs are 4-for-4 in NBA Finals series and will try to remain as one of two NBA teams to with multiple titles and no Finals series losses. The Bulls are 6-0 in the NBA Finals.

If the Spurs win, it would mean that no team would have won consecutive games in this series.

According to Elias, it would be just the sixth time that an NBA Finals series went seven games and no team won back-to-back games. The last time it happened was in the 1974 NBA Finals, won by the Celtics.

Not only would the Spurs would become just the fourth road team to win a Game 7 in the Finals, but they would also be the first team to ever defeat the defending NBA champion on the road in a NBA Finals Game 7.

Tim Duncan is one of four players to play in the NBA Finals in three different decades, along with John Salley, A.C. Green and Elgin Baylor. If the Spurs win, Duncan would join Salley as the only players to win a NBA title in three different decades.

Should Heat play LeBron, Wade separately?

June, 20, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information

Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsThe LeBron-Wade combo has not been working for the Heat in the NBA Finals.
Fifteen down, one to go. Both the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have 15 victories this postseason but in order to win a NBA title, you need to reach that win number 16.

We’ve already taken you through the historical storylines and the coaching adjustments made so far in the first six games.

Now let’s take a closer look at the question that has everyone buzzing after LeBron James took over in the fourth quarter of Game 6 with Dwyane Wade on the bench:

Should Miami should play LeBron and Wade separately?

James was more aggressive without Wade on the court on Tuesday night, with seven of his nine field goal attempts coming inside five feet, a trend that has been present the entire NBA Finals.

As you can see in the chart to the right, James is scoring much more efficiently with Wade on the bench, especially on shots close to the basket.

However, in the 194 minutes played this series with LeBron and Wade both on the court, the Heat have been outscored by 56 points.

No other two-man tandem on the Heat has been outscored by more points in this series than the James-Wade combo.

To be fair, Wade has had similar success without LeBron James. Wade has shot 63 percent from the floor without James in the NBA Finals, compared to 44 percent with James on the floor.

In Wade’s breakout Game 4, he was 5-of-7 shooting with 10 points in seven minutes with James off the court, and 9-of-18 shooting with 22 points in 33 minutes with James on the court.

Another key difference for LeBron without Wade is how the Heat have performed off his drives.

In the second quarter of Game 6, LeBron drove to the basket and Danny Green, who was playing off Wade at the three-point line, was able to stop LeBron and block his shot near the basket.

Then late in the fourth quarter with Wade on the bench and three shooters plus Chris Bosh on the floor, James was isolated on Boris Diaw and blew by him on a driving layup to the basket with no help from the other Spurs’ defenders.

During the regular season the Heat outscored its opponents by 14 points per 48 minutes with both Wade and James on the court together, but that chemistry doesn’t seem to be working against the Spurs.

Will Erik Spoelstra make yet another coaching move in this back-and-forth NBA Finals to keep Wade and James on the court at different times in Game 7?

5 stats to know: Struggles of Wade & Bosh

June, 8, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information

Dwyane Wade has not performed at the same level in the postseason as he did in the regular season.
As the NBA Finals heads to Game 2, let's take a closer look at the postseason struggles of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, which figure to be a key storyline in the rest of this series.

1. During the regular season, Wade and Bosh shot a combined 61 percent from inside the paint.

In the postseason, as their shot charts show, they are a combined 52 percent from the field.

2. LeBron James made three of four shots in the paint in the second half against the Spurs. His teammates were a combined 4-for-13, including 2-for-8 from Bosh and Wade.

3. Bosh is 14-for-50 from the field in his past five games, including 3-for-16 in the paint. He was one for four in the paint in Game 1 against the Spurs.

Of the 85 shots Bosh has taken this postseason, 49 have been from at least 15 feet out, including 12 of the 16 he took in game 1.

Here's a look at his shot chart, comparing his regular season with his postseason.

4. Wade is averaging 2.3 points per game in the fourth quarter this postseason. He was held scoreless in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Wade is a respectable 12-for-20 when shooting from inside the paint but has one basket outside the paint in the fourth quarter or overtime this entire postseason. He averaged 5.8 points and had 37 hoops from outside the paint in the 63 games in which he played the fourth quarter or overtime in the regular season.

5. Wade has shot 50 percent or better from the field in six games this postseason. The Heat have won all six of them. The Heat are 44-5 this season (regular season and playoffs combined) when Wade makes at least half of his shots.

Likewise, the Heat are 9-0 in games in which Bosh makes at least half of his shots this postseason. They’ve won the past 29 games in which Bosh shoots 50 percent or better.