Players to watch
LeBron James, Heat forward: Averaging 27.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 15 postseason games. He passed Larry Bird for eighth in the NBA’s career playoff scoring list.
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs forward: Spurs were 54-12 during regular season with Leonard in lineup. Averaging 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals during playoffs.
Chris Bosh, Heat center: Has averaged 15.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in the playoffs. The 6-11 center leads the Heat with 25 three-pointers in the playoffs.
Tim Duncan, Spurs center: Averaging 16.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists. During regular season had 30 double-doubles and 17 games with at least five assists.
Dwyane Wade, Heat guard: The former Marquette star has averaged 18.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists this postseason. Shot a career-high 54.5 percent from the field during the regular season.
Tony Parker, Spurs guard: Only player in NBA to average at least 16.5 points and 5.5 assists in 30 minutes or less during regular season. Averaging 17.2 points, 4.9 assists in playoffs.
The Heat won its third NBA title with a seven-game victory over San Antonio in last year’s finals.
The Heat is 8-0 at home in the playoffs this season; the Spurs have won seven consecutive home games by at least 15 points.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of five NBA coaches with at least four NBA championships. He’s led his team to 17 consecutive postseason berths.
The Heat is 33-1 when hitting at least nine three-pointers this season.
The Spurs are 41-11 in postseason when their Big Three — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — each scores at least 15 points.
The Wolves selected Mario Chalmers with the 34th overall pick of the 2008 draft, then immediately traded him to Miami for cash and two 2009 second-round picks. Those picks yielded Nick Calathes and Henk Norel. Chalmers is the Heat’s starting point guard, averaging 7.1 points and 3.9 assists this postseason. Ex-Wolf Michael Beasley is a deep reserve for the Heat, although he did average 7.9 points in 55 regular-season games.
“We’re happy that it’s the Heat again,” Spurs star Tim Duncan said. “We’ll be ready for them. We’ve got some experience, obviously, from last year against them, and we’ll go back and look at some film. … Hopefully, we’ll be ready to take it this time.”
Jerry Zgoda Says
The Spurs came within five seconds of beating the Heat in six games last June. This time, San Antonio has home-court advantage … and don’t forget the name Kawhi Leonard. San Antonio in 7.