NBA Finals rematch contains intrigue, history

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 5, 2014 - 12:19 AM

The Spurs will try to prevent a third Heat title in a row.

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are back at it, one year after they engaged in an epic seven-game NBA Finals during which the Spurs seemingly won their fifth title in Game 6 before Ray Allen forced overtime and a Game 7 the Heat ultimately won with an unforgettable desperation three-point shot.

Here are five questions regarding the rematch, now that the Spurs have the home-court advantage this time and the NBA has gone back to a 2-2-1-1-1 format:

1. Can the sequel surpass the original?

It’ll certainly be different a year after the Spurs came so close to winning their fifth NBA title in Game 6, only to lose it all in a seventh and final game.

Both teams’ stars are the same, but the supporting casts have changed: Sharp-shooter Mike Miller is gone from Miami, his role reprised by veteran Rashard Lewis, and Gary Neal is gone from the Spurs. Heat veteran Shane Battier is mostly an afterthought this time around.

This time, Spurs point guard Tony Parker is fighting a twisted ankle he originally injured in the first round against Dallas and aggravated in Saturday’s series-ending victory over Oklahoma City. This time, Heat star Dwyane Wade is healthier after he played the 2013 Finals despite having a hurting knee.

This time, the Spurs get another chance one year after Allen’s three-pointer forced a deciding game in which Spurs star Tim Duncan missed a short hook shot and a tip-in late in the game.

“It lasts,” Duncan said Wednesday about last season’s bitter loss. “I have a very good memory, especially for my misses and my losses. … That stuck with me. Obviously, it’s always in the back of my mind. Anytime I see anything to do with that, it pops right back in.

“We understand what happened last year. We understand how close we got. We’re disappointed in that respect, but we’re ecstatic we have another opportunity to try to change that.”

2. How much will Parker’s injured ankle affect the series?

Wade underwent treatments nearly around the clock and persevered just enough through his knee injury. Parker on Wednesday declared himself able to play, thanks in part to four days off after the Spurs’ Western Conference final victory over the Thunder.

“You never know how it’s going to feel, but I’m trying to very positive,” Parker said at Wednesday’s Finals media day. “I’m very proud of my body. Yes, I have some little stuff, wear and tear. I’m still here, and I trust my body to hold up for the whole series.”

3. What’s the big deal?

After the Spurs finished off Oklahoma City on Saturday, Duncan said his team would beat the Heat this time and added, “We’re happy to have another opportunity at it. We’re happy it’s the Heat again.”

Miami superstar LeBron James and teammate Chris Bosh bristled at Duncan’s comments and suggested they could become bulletin-board motivational material when the Finals tighten.

“I don’t know what I said that was so bad,” Duncan said Wednesday. “I said I wanted to win the Finals, we’re back here now and I wanted to win. If they need to find fuel in that, then so be it.”

Wade said he thinks he knows the correct answer.

“When you’re in the Finals, you’re supposed to think you’re going to win,” Wade said. “Tim Duncan believes that they’re going to win. The Miami Heat believes that they’re going to win, we wouldn’t be here [otherwise]. So I don’t know, I just think we have microphones in our face too much.”

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Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 28 2nd Qtr 10:31
New Orleans 29
Indiana 32 2nd Qtr 8:44
Orlando 35
LA Clippers 39 2nd Qtr 7:06
Phoenix 31
Minnesota 26 2nd Qtr 8:58
Atlanta 36
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 10 2nd Prd 8:33
Team Foligno 6
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 57 2nd Half 1:49
Iona 85
Notre Dame 9 1st Half 13:18
NC State 13
Belmont 6 1st Half 15:41
Tennessee St 11
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
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Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 52 2nd Half 10:00
(12) North Carolina 54
Miami-Florida 39 2nd Half 5:38
(4) Louisville 55
(21) Minnesota 42 2nd Half 11:44
(25) Rutgers 49
California 23 1st Half 3:11
UCLA 24
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC

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