I think JaVale McGee would need to give San Antonio 30+mpg against Dwight Howard to give San Antonio a chance in this series. McGee came close to that against A.Bynum two years ago. Maybe it is possible. Then again, D.Howard owned him when ORL-WAS were playing against each other in the East.
I think Kevin Love will be the one who has to defend Dwight Howard when McGee goes to the bench (likely in foul trouble). I think SAS should go small with Thad Young. Force Dwight to stay on K-Love out on the perimeter. Taj Gibson can check T.Young at PF. That way both team's interior / team defenses are seriously comprised (rather than only SAS' defense).
That's how I envision it is as well. McGee has a size and quickness advantage. At this point in their careers he's capable of bothering Howard defensively, and beating him to the other rim offensively, for three and half quarters before fouling out. When he's on the bench, Love, in a small lineup with Young, is capable of both holding Howard off the glass, and pulling him out of comfort zone defensively. He is going to struggle getting his shot off inside when matched up with Dwight, but San Antonio can partly offset that disadvantage by staying big at the 2 and 3 with Iguodala and Granger. Spurs will also throw Motiejunas out there in short stints as another three point threat.
Someone convince me Howard can even swing a playoff series anymore? Swept in the second round after putting up 17, 10 and 2, 4 TOs per, and the lowest +/- of his career.
Remember when Mike Tyson came out of prison and wasn't the same boxer anymore, even though he looked like the same guy? That's Dwight Howard since 2011's NBA lockout. He's not a force of nature anymore. The Eye Test backs it up, and so do the results: Howard dragged a 219-102 record from four half-decent Magic teams from 2008 to 2011, then went just 75-55 in these past two seasons once his body started breaking down. There's been a not-so-subtle dip in his offensive numbers …
2011: 22.9 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 59% FG, 60% FT, 227 dunks, 26.0 PER (second in NBA)
2013: 17.1 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 58% FG, 49% FT, 187 dunks, 19.4 PER (38th)
… and defensively, Dwight isn't the NBA's most impactful player anymore. You would rather have Marc Gasol or Joakim Noah, both of whom are just better at anchoring a defense. Throw in the undeniable injury risks, the maturity issues, and the words "not even a hint of any leadership whatsoever."
Love is going to dominate his match-up against Patrick Patterson by a wider margin, and lead either front court in both scoring and rebounding. Pat is the most overmatched player in this series not JaVale. He's got a nice midrange game, but not a lot more.