MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With the Indiana Pacers safely in the rearview mirror after a Game 7 blowout in the Eastern Conference Finals the Heat now turn their full attention to the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs for the NBA Finals.
The Spurs and Heat played each other twice this year with the Heat coming out on top both times. But, neither game saw both teams at full strength.
The Spurs sent most of their star players home in an early season matchup against the Heat which drew the ire of the NBA. Then, later in the season, when Miami visited San Antonio, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were held out of the game in a similar move by the Heat.
But now there’s no more sitting out the stars and the Spurs 10-day break is over as both teams prepare to clash in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Spurs are returning back to the Finals in a quest for a fifth championship for the franchise.
The Heat are back in the Finals looking to win back-to-back championships with LeBron James, Wade, and Chris Bosh and the team’s third overall championship.
For James, he may also try to exorcise the demons of his first trip to the Finals back in 2007 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs ran into the Spurs that year and were summarily swept in a series that wasn’t even close.
“Obviously, I needed more,” James said. “Our team, we were really good, but we weren’t great. And that was a great team. We lost to a better team. So I understand that we needed more. We continued to get better over the years, but we never got to that level.”
The Spurs are a veteran-laden team that featuring arguably the best power forward of all time Tim Duncan along with MVP-candidate point guard Tony Parker and star shooting guard Manu Ginobli. But the Spurs also have great talent in other places like Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green.
While some may believe the two teams play a completely different style of basketball, the truth is San Antonio can adapt to most styles of play and is a very good offensive team. The Spurs also play defense at a level superior to almost any team including the Indiana Pacers, who just gave the Heat fits in the conference finals.
“I think the latter part of these days are kind of getting kind of long,” Duncan said Monday. “But good preparation, good recovery time, all that stuff. Just anxious to know our opponent and start preparing for them.”
The Spurs have been going live in practice, trying their best to stay sharp.
“It’s just long. It’s long,” Parker said of the layoff. “Wish we could play like right now.”
Parker and the rest of the world have to wait just 48 more hours as the AmericanAirlines Arena gets transformed into the home of the NBA Finals. Tip-off for Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be at 9 p.m.
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