Spurs: Parker comes off a 37-point masterpiece (15-for-21 shooting) in the close-out win against Memphis. Hes averaging 23 points in postseason, more than he did in the playoffs on the three championship teams he was a part of. His floor game has been very good (7.2 assists, 2.7 turnovers). Even with his Game 4 in the Memphis series, his shooting percentage has dipped in the postseason to 47.5, still very good but below his unworldly 52.2 percent in the regular season, which easily led NBA point guards. Its impossible to envision the Heat stopping him, though James (in doses) and Norris Cole figure to be impediments at times. Mario Chalmers will challenge Parker defensively if he mixes in drives to the basket with his standstill threes, as he did in the Pacers series.
Heat: Chalmers and Cole havent always played well at the same time in postseason, but usually, at least one has given the Heat very good minutes. Cole was a major factor in the Bulls series and late in the Pacers series. Chalmers had some very good moments against Indiana. Chalmers has played the steadier floor game in postseason (56 assists, 20 turnovers) compared with Coles 30 and 18. Cole is shooting at a higher percentage: 53.8 to 43.1. Chalmers man-to-man defense has improved, but Coles is superior, and will be needed for stretches against Parker.
Spurs: Danny Green has evolved into a capable starter, allowing Manu Ginobili to continue to come off the bench. Hes averaging 9.6 points and shot 43.1 percent on threes in postseason (28 for 65) after shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc during the season. He can rebound (4.1 playoff average) and has quickness defensively (1.2 steals average), but he must make shots to justify staying on the floor for long stretches.
Heat: We can all accept that Wade weakened by his right knee troubles will not be the vintage version. But to win this series, he must be at least somewhat more than the player who averaged 14.1 points and shot 44.7 in postseason and failed to reach 20 points in 12 games in a row before Monday. His explosiveness comes only in short bursts now and his midrange game has been spotty, but his Game 7 effort against Indiana (21 points, nine rebounds) raises hopes that Wade can offer more than his previous string of pedestrian performances. And while Ginobili creates challenges with driving ability, defending Green mostly a three-point shooter shouldnt be too taxing.
Spurs: A pretty deep group, led by Ginobili, who has not had an exceptional postseason by his standards (11.5 points, 38.3 percent shooting, 2.4 turnovers, 5.4 assists) but is the best bench player the Heat will face this postseason. Ginobili will be eager to rebound from one of his worst playoff games ever (six turnovers, 1-for-6 shooting in the close-out win against Memphis). Boris Diaw, 6-8, isnt a big rebounder (2.5), but has the athleticism and versatility to effectively chase Bosh to the perimeter. Matt Bonner remains one of the NBAs best-shooting big men and is 14 for 28 on threes this postseason. Backup guards Cory Joseph (3.4 points, 46.8 percent shooting in postseason) and Gary Neal (5.5 points) are serviceable, but Neal has struggled with his shot this postseason (just 9 for 36 on threes).