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Split decision: Experts' Finals picks

Six of our writers weigh in on the NBA Finals:

Prediction: San Antonio 4, Detroit 2
The Pistons have the better starting five, but only by a bit.

The Spurs, meanwhile, have the better bench, offensive variety Detroit can only dream of and home-court advantage.

All of which supplements the two finest players in the series (Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili) as well as an ego-less, team-first approach that's right up there with Detroit's.

If the Pistons could overcome all that to win their second straight championship, this title would be even more impressive than their smackdown of the Lakers last spring.

Spurs in six, with Duncan and Ginobili in a dead heat for Finals MVP.

– Marc Stein, ESPN.com


Prediction: Detroit 4, San Antonio 3
I like Detroit, as hard as it is to see San Antonio's dropping a Game 7 at home.

The Pistons win because they have the front line to keep Duncan in control and the backcourt and help scheme to force Ginobili and Tony Parker into inconsistent, up-and-down play.

Chauncey Billups will be the Finals MVP (again!) as he lives up to his Mr. Big Shot nickname, but Rasheed Wallace could be the key with strong defense against Duncan and timely post play on the offensive end.

– Chris Broussard, ESPN The Magazine


Prediction: Detroit 4, San Antonio 3
My head tells me San Antonio has the greater depth. It tells me the Spurs have grown up in these playoffs, beating an array of different teams by playing different styles. It tells me they have the home-court advantage and that they don't have scoring droughts the way Detroit does. It tells me there is no team more united than the Spurs while the Pistons' head coach, voluntarily or otherwise, appears to have one foot out the door.

But that's my head. My gut? It's not as long-winded. It says the Pistons have a toughness in the clutch that makes all the head's arguments superfluous.

– Ric Bucher, ESPN The Magazine


Prediction: San Antonio wins
Here's my issue: Two days ago with Eric Neel and I picked Roscoe's crew to win the chip for the repeat. I still believe that in order to beat the champ, you gotta knock the champ out. You have to take the crown because it won't be given to you.

Now … I've flipped. Now I'm picking the Spurs to do what they're supposed to do: prove that they are the best team in basketball this year. I'm convinced.

Now, I'm not trying to be John Kerry, but this series is too balanced for me to honestly predict who I believe will win. I have no idea. Does that make me an honest journalist? No. It makes me a hypocrite.

– Scoop Jackson, Page 2


Prediction: Detroit 4, San Antonio 2
The Pistons' front line will be important in that it has the ability to guard Duncan one-on-one.

The key for Detroit is turnovers. If the Pistons execute well and take good shots, they can eliminate the two areas where the Spurs can hurt them: transition and the offensive glass. And they have to contain penetration.

It won't be easy, but as we've seen from the Pistons the last two years, they don't mind hard work.

– Greg Anthony, ESPN Insider


Prediction: San Antonio 4, Detroit 2
It's simply a case of everything Detroit can do, San Antonio can do better. The Pistons play great defense, but San Antonio was No. 1 in the league in defensive efficiency.

The Pistons looked impressive in winning the East, but San Antonio needed even fewer games to win the West – and played a tougher opponent than did Detroit in every round.

– John Hollinger, ESPN Insider