2013 NBA Finals Prediction: Heat vs. Spurs From WhatIfSports.com image

2013 NBA Finals Prediction: Heat vs. Spurs

Simulation engine favors LeBron James and the Heat to edge Tim Duncan's Spurs

By Joel Beall - WhatIfSports.com
June 5th, 2013

Three months ago, the Heat looked unbeatable, riding a historic 27-game winning streak and capturing the regular season Eastern Conference title by 12 games. Yet a seven-game series with the Pacers in the conference finals proved Miami is far from infallible, with Indiana giving the Heat all they can handle. Now facing a battle-tested club in the San Antonio Spurs, can Miami defend their championship belts?

According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com basketball simulation engine, the answer is a definitive "yes" with the Heat coming out on top 60.8 percent of the time, with the average scoring margin 103-100.

2013 NBA Finals
MatchupWin %Avg. PPGWIS Interactive
San Antonio Spurs39.2100.2Simulate NBA Finals
Miami Heat60.8103.4for FREE!

Though the Spurs run a similar up-tempo offense as Miami, it appears the Heat excelled in the open court during the simulation. This trend was evident in the production from Dwyane Wade. The All-NBA guard, who struggled most of the playoffs until Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, came alive against San Antonio, pouring in nearly 20 points per game, adding six boards and five assists. Chris Bosh also awoke from his postseason slumber, chipping in 15 points and eight boards for the Heatles. Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen provided the love from downtown, with each averaging nearly 10 points per game, while Chris "Birdman" Andersen continued his dexterity off the bench with five boards and a block in abbreviated time.

As for LeBron James? Turns out that cat can ball, submitting figures of 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight dimes per game in the simulation. For those scoring at home, that's nearly a triple-double. If James' harvest in the Finals mirrors our simulation, the King will be adding more hardware to his growing trophy case.

If San Antonio hopes to compete with Miami, it will come from their advantage in cleaning the glass. The venerable Tim Duncan shows no signs of age in the WhatIfSports simulation, pulling down nearly 12 rebounds per game against Bosh and company. Fellow big man Tiago Splitter was no slouch himself, racking up nine boards per outing, and second-year stud Kawhi Leonard supported these efforts with eight rebounds of his own.

Nevertheless, the Spurs will need more creation from their backcourt, as Wade and Norris Cole put the clamps down on Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Parker, who has been dynamite this spring with his scoring and vision, is relatively slowed down by the tenacious defense of Miami, averaging just 16 points per contest. Likewise, Ginobili, who has been hampered by injuries this year, can't get much going, averaging less than 10 points a game for San Antonio.

This series will highlight two of the NBA's titans fighting for the mantle of World Champs. If the WhatIfSports prediction holds true, Miami will emerge victorious from this title fight.

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Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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