Charles Barkley: Spurs can sweep Heat in 2013 NBA Finals
TNT commentator Charles Barkley has a simple message for fans in San Antonio: buy a broom sometime between now and Thursday.
In a Dan Patrick Show interview on Friday, Barkley said that he believes the Spurs can sweep the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals after winning Game 1 on Thursday.
“I picked the Spurs in six, I’m going to have to change that,” Barkley said. “I don’t think the Heat will get out of San Antonio. I really want to say something silly right now. I think they can sweep Miami, to be honest with you. I do.”
Game 2 is set for Sunday at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. Games 3, 4 and 5 will be played in San Antonio’s AT&T Center on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, respectively, under the NBA’s 2-3-2 Finals format.
The Spurs won Game 1 92-88 in Miami thanks to a clinching shot from Tony Parker, who finished with 21 points and six assists.
Barkley asserted that the Heat were outplayed by the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals even though they ultimately prevailed in seven games. A major cause of Indiana’s undoing was turnovers, and Barkley sees San Antonio’s ability to take care of the ball as a key determining factor in the Finals. The Pacers committed 21 turnovers in their a Game 7 loss to the Heat in Miami, including 15 in the first half.
“The Pacers actually outplayed the [Heat],” he said. “The Spurs won’t have 15 turnovers in any game, let alone a half. [Parker is] the best point guard in the NBA.”
San Antonio committed just four turnovers in Game 1, the fewest turnovers any team has committed during the 2013 postseason and tying the record for fewest turnovers ever committed in an NBA Finals game. Parker had zero turnovers in his 40 minutes.
“He’s been in this position multiple times,” Heat forward LeBron James said of Parker. “He’s a very, very smart player. High-engine player. I think it’s very unique for him not to have any turnovers last night versus our defense. I think [Parker and coach Gregg Popovich] have been on the same page for so many years, they know the system more than anybody. He does a great job of running their offense and putting himself and putting those guys in position to succeed.”
Even still, Barkley wasn’t convinced that we’ve seen the best from the Spurs. Indeed, San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili said after Game 1 that the Spurs played only an “OK game” even though they prevailed in dramatic fashion.
“The thing that should scare Miami, the Spurs didn’t play good, the Spurs didn’t play good [Thursday] night,” Barkley said. “I thought they were rusty on offense.”
San Antonio shot 41.7 percent from the field and 30.4 percent on three-pointers in Game 1, well below their usual standards. San Antonio shot 48.1 percent overall and 37.6 percent on three-pointers during the regular season and is shooting 46.5 percent overall and 35.8 on three-pointers during the 2013 postseason.
On the other end, James finished with a triple-double — 18 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists — but was unable to take over during the game’s closing quarter. A number of Spurs defenders, including Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, did well to make James work. San Antonio also regularly provided a second defender in the paint on his drives and sent double teams at the 2013 MVP when he tried to post up.
“They’re going to play great defense on LeBron,” Barkley concluded. “LeBron had a monster game [Thursday] night. But you factor in [that] they’re not going to let him dominate. … I do think the Spurs could sweep them, but I really don’t think they’re going to get out of San Antonio.”