Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporter Vincent Goodwill is joined by the NBA on TNT’s Stan Van Gundy to discuss this season’s championship series and why it will be completely unlike each team’s conference finals matchup. Hear the full conversation on the Ball Don’t Lie podcast and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Denver has been sitting for so, so long. I feel like that series ended like a month ago. Like out in LA and game 4 and how that ended. And you know, how everything moves quickly, but it's slow at the same time. I know you're probably not necessarily worried about Denver being too rested, but stylistically I feel like we're going to see a completely different series than we saw on either side of the bracket. Like Miami can't go zone against Denver, not with Jokic sitting in the middle of it and picking you apart. And I feel like Miami couldn't play Kevin Love or Zeller and almost at points Kyle Lowry. And I feel like it will be better series for those guys to play in.
STAN VAN GUNDY: Well, look, I mean, I think there's a lot of factors. I think that the team to me, the team who sort of finishes closer to the start of the next series always has a little bit of an advantage in game 1. And the Heat have won already three game 1s on the road this year. They've won every game 1 on the road. And they will be in a better rhythm.
Michael Malone has already said it, he's absolutely right. In that time off it's very, very hard to maintain your rhythm. They're certainly doing a lot of 5 on 5 and getting up and down, but it's just not the same as an NBA game. So I think there's a little bit of an advantage for Miami right there, but certainly Denver is an entirely different animal for the Heat.
Jokic alone changes that. Like you said, it'll be harder in the zone because of his ability to pass the ball. It will also be-- you know, Bam will guard him. They will probably have to use Zeller and Kevin Love at times. He'll try-- Eric will try to match Bam's minutes with Jokic as much as he can, but if there's any foul trouble those guys are going to have to play a little bit. Denver still hasn't been great in the non-Jokic minutes. There's not going to be many of them. Look, especially the way this series is spaced out. The only time there's only one day in between games I think is between games 3 and 4 in Miami. Everything else there's extra days.
So these guys are going to get plenty of rest. The best players, I mean, Butler, Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Jokic, Murray, you know, Aaron Gordon, those guys are going to be playing 42 to 44 minutes a night. So this isn't going to be a series that's about depth, this is going to be about your main guys. It's going to be an interesting series. I think, look, I think Denver has a far better roster, but I thought Milwaukee had a far better roster. I thought Boston certainly because they didn't-- Milwaukee at least had the injury [INAUDIBLE] but they don't. Boston certainly had a far better roster than Miami. So anybody who counts them out does so at their own peril.