Miami and San Antonio meet in the NBA Finals for the first time starting Thursday, but Heat superstar LeBron James has been here before, six years ago when his Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in four games by the Spurs.
Miami and San Antonio meet in the NBA Finals for the first time starting Thursday, but Heat superstar LeBron James has been here before, six years ago when his Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in four games by a Spurs team that won its fourth NBA title anchored by star center Tim Duncan.
Here are five questions about a Heat team looking to repeat in its third consecutive trip to the Finals and a Spurs team looking to get Duncan one more ring for his thumb:
Q Will the Spurs be rusty, or ready?
A They haven’t played in 10 days since sweeping Memphis in the Western Conference finals. The Heat beat Indiana in the East final’s Game 7 on Monday.
That’s three days, sports and mathematics fans.
“I’m ready to play now,” James told reporters Wednesday. “I would rather have the two days.”
While the Pacers and Heat slugged it out, the Spurs sat home, rested their old creaky bodies and observed.
“We learned a lot watching those games,” San Antonio guard Tony Parker said. “I can’t tell you what we got from that, but we learned a lot. Hopefully, it will help us.”
Q Did the Pacers provide the blueprint for beating the Heat?
A Yes and no.
Big Roy Hibbert demonstrated during the Eastern Conference finals what most everybody suspected all along: If you’re going to challenge Miami, you’ll do it with height, length and muscle.
Hibbert, and frontcourt mate David West, provided some of all three.
The Spurs have size, but neither Tim Duncan nor Tiago Splitter is Hibbert, a 7-2 shot-blocker whose presence tested the Heat.
The Spurs, like the Heat, will spread the floor more, with Parker’s ball handling creating space for three-point shooters Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Gary Neal and Matt Bonner.
“It’s going to be a little different,” said Heat center Chris Bosh, who struggled to find his way against the Pacers. “It’s kind of like our practices playing each other.”
|Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano||0||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto||4|
|Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi||0||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez||3|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel||0||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka||3|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly||1||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta||5|
|NY Mets - WP: D. Gee||5||FINAL|
|Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy||2|
|Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran||1||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee||0|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood||0||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda||2|
|Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister||3||FINAL|
|Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez||2|
|Washington - WP: D. Storen||6||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: M. Dunn||3|
|Seattle - LP: F. Rodney||2||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: P. Figueroa||3|
|Boston - WP: C. Capuano||6||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - LP: L. Garcia||4|
|Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy||6||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: J. Williams||4|
|Oakland - LP: D. Pomeranz||4||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Smith||5|
|Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa||2||FINAL|
|San Diego - WP: A. Cashner||4|
|Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell||1||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: J. Machi||2|
|Red Bull New York||2|