SportVU Series Preview: 2014 NBA Finals
After their epic seven-game clash in last year's Finals, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will meet again with the Larry O'Brien trophy on the line, beginning with Game 1 on Thursday at 9 PM ET on ABC.
The Heat are back in the Finals for the fourth straight year, while the Spurs are making back-to-back appearances for the first time ever. It is the first time since Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz met in the 1997 and 1998 Finals that the NBA has seen a championship rematch.
The playoffs are all about matchups and thanks to SportVU, we have player vs. player matchup data that we can analyze as we get ready for this series to begin. Will the Spurs look to Boris Diaw to defend LeBron James? How well have the Heat defended Tony Parker's drives? Can Chris Bosh continue to score against Tim Duncan? Can Dwyane Wade slow down Danny Green's 3-point shooting? Check out the stats below to find the answers to those questions and more.
For more on this series, check out John Schuhmann and Sekou Smith's series preview, get all the stats you need with Schuhmann's Numbers Preview and bookmark the Finals Hub for the latest news, analysis and video from this series.
Top Matchups | LeBron James vs. Boris Diaw | Tony Parker Drives | Chris Bosh's Offense | Dwyane Wade's 3-Point Defense
|T. Duncan||C. Bosh||13:12||1||4-8||50%||0-0||0%||1||2-2||0||0||0||10|
|M. Chalmers||T. Parker||12:29||0||4-8||50%||1-1||100%||1||2-2||16||0||2||11|
|T. Parker||M. Chalmers||12:21||0||5-13||38%||1-2||50%||4||0-0||9||0||0||11|
|C. Bosh||T. Duncan||12:20||2||12-14||86%||0-0||0%||2||8-8||3||0||1||32|
|L. James||B. Diaw||8:43||1||2-9||22%||0-2||0%||1||0-0||3||0||0||4|
The Spurs' strategy of packing the paint and forcing James to settle for jumpers in last year's Finals was perhaps never more successful than in Game 5, when Boris Diaw spent an extensive amount of time guarding James. James shot 0-of-6 against Diaw in the half-court, did not drive to the basket a single time, and had an average shot distance of 12.9 feet on his six attempts. The Spurs experimented with this matchup once again in the regular season this year, with James scoring just four points on 2-of-9 shooting.
|2013 Finals, Game 5||2014 Regular Season|
Tony Parker was second in the NBA in the regular season with 12.5 drives per 36 minutes, but in his two games against the Heat he averaged just 9.2 drives per 36 minutes, which would have dropped him to 15th in the NBA if extrapolated over the entire season. This was largely due to Mario Chalmers, who also allowed just .44 points per drive to Parker compared to Parker's season average of .62.
|Defender||Matchup Time||Drives||Drives/Min||Drive Points||Drive Pts/Min||Points/Drive|
Chris Bosh was dominant in the two games against San Antonio during the regular season, averaging 24 points per game. While experiencing success against all Spurs defenders he was particularly effective against his primary matchup Tim Duncan, who allowed 16 points per game to Bosh which nearly equaled Bosh's regular season points per game average of 16.2.
|Tim Duncan||Rest of Team|
Danny Green is tied for the fourth most 3-point attempts in the half-court this postseason and has been shooting lights out at 48%. Dwayne Wade has guarded 51 three point attempts at a 37% rate to this point in the postseason which is the 12th most attempts defended of any player, and will likely be the primary matchup for Green.