Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs don’t look like almost exact copies of each other, but statistically speaking there’s almost no better matchup of teams than the two squads headed for the NBA Finals.
Miami finished the regular season with a 66-16 record, which was tops in the Eastern Conference and the NBA overall. The 81 percent winning percentage was one of the highest the league has seen in several years.
San Antonio went 58-24 this season which was the second best record in the Western Conference behind only the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 60-22 record.
But looking at some more advanced stats shows the two teams are roughly equal in several categories.
According to numbers from basketball-reference.com, the Heat posted a SRS score of 7.03, second-best in the NBA. SRS is a rating that “takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule.” The third-best SRS score in the NBA in 2013? San Antonio with a SRS of 6.67.
Offensively, the Heat put up an offensive rating of 112.3, again second best in the NBA this season. The offensive rating measures points scored per 100 possessions. The Spurs were seventh best in the NBA in offensive rating this year coming in at 108.3.
Defensively, the Spurs allowed 101.6 points per 100 possessions, third best in the NBA regular season. Miami had a defensive rating of 103.7 meaning the Heat allowed 103.7 points per 100 possessions, which was ninth best in the NBA.
In the playoffs, San Antonio has averaged 101.6 points per game, third best in the playoffs. Miami has played two more games than the Spurs and are averaging 97.2 points per game, seventh best in the playoffs.
The Heat has held opponents to just 87.6 points per game, second best in the NBA during the playoffs while San Antonio is allowing just 91.5 points per game defensively. In addition, San Antonio and Miami both lead the playoffs in pace, or number of possessions per 48 minutes at 90 and 86.7 respectively.
Opponents are shooting 42.9 percent from the field against the Heat’s defense in the playoffs and 42 percent overall against the Spurs’ defense. From behind the three-point line, the Spurs’ defense is allowing 33.7 percent shooting while the Heat locks down foes to 32.5 percent shooting from downtown.
Finally, looking at effective field goal percentage, which adjusts for three-point shots having one point more value, Miami has the highest field goal percentage in the playoffs at 52 percent while San Antonio is just behind at 51.3 percent.
Looking strictly at the numbers, the matchup is about as even as you could want heading into the NBA Finals. The series, if both teams show up playing their best games, will be one of the better in recent memory.
But, if one squad takes mental days off, the other more than has the ability to completely run away with a game and possibly the series.