Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Both the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat will be relying on three stars to carry most of the weight for their respective franchises during the 2013 NBA Finals.
For the Spurs, the combination of power forward Tim Duncan, point guard Tony Parker, and shooting guard Manu Ginobli. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli combined to score just shy of 50 points per game during the regular season.
Duncan, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, is approaching 37-years-old, but has been playing like he is 25. He averaged 30.1 minutes, 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.7 blocks per game during the regular season.
During the Western Conference Finals, Duncan was routinely beating Memphis Grizzlies players up and down the court en route to averaging 15.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3.3 assists per contest. But Duncan isn’t even the best player on the floor for the Spurs; that honor goes to Parker.
During the regular season, Parker averaged 32.9 minutes per game and had 20.3 points, 3 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game. He shot 52.2 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from behind the three-point line while also shooting 84.5 percent from the free throw line per game.
Parker had a win shares per 48 minutes of .206, best on the entire Spurs team. Win shares per 48 minutes measures the estimated number of wins contributed by a player per 48 minutes, according to basketball-reference.com.
The final piece of the Spurs’ Big Three is a point of debate between forward Kawhi Leonard and guard Manu Ginobli. Leonard has come on in recent months as a defensive stopper and solid all-around player, but Ginobli has been the scorer that keeps the Spurs rolling.
Ginobli dealt with injuries during the regular season and still averaged 11.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game on 42.5 percent shooting. During the Western Conference Finals, Ginobli had 10 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game during the four game sweep of the Grizzlies.
On the other side is the Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. While Wade and Bosh both struggled in the Eastern Conference Finals, both have played well for most of the season.
LeBron has been the one constant for the Heat during the regular season and the playoffs. LeBron averaged 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game during the regular season while shooting an astounding 56.5 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from behind the 3-point line.
In the just completed Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron upped his game to 29 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game against the Indiana Pacers. Miami needed it too as Wade and Bosh were shells of themselves during the series.
Wade averaged 15.4 points per game and didn’t get above 20 points until the deciding Game 7 Monday night. He shot just 44.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the three-point line and turned the ball over nearly three times per game.
During the regular season, Wade averaged 21.2 points, 5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.9 steals, and nearly 1 block per game on 52 percent shooting, but just 25.8 percent shooting from behind the three-point line.
Bosh in the regular season averaged 16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game on 53.5 percent shooting and had a win share per 48 minutes of .175, third best on the Miami Heat, and better than all but three Spurs players.
Still, during the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, Bosh managed just 11 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 1 block per game. Bosh struggled to find his shot throughout much of the series, but he played well against the Pacers during the regular season, including hitting a game wining shot in the second matchup of the two teams.
Still, the series could come down to which team’s role players want it more. The Heat will rely on Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, and likely Mike Miller. The Spurs counter with Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Matt Bonner, and Boris Diaw.
The Heat and Spurs will tip-off the NBA Finals on Thursday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena at 9 p.m.