Apparently Sunday's potential preview of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs won't be such a preview, after all.
Confirmed: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers OUT vs. Spurs.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 31, 2013
Heat say LeBron has a right hamstring strain suffered in first half in NOH. Wade and Chalmers both right ankle. All day-to-day.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 31, 2013
Oh, the irony.
During the teams’ first meeting, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich notoriously rested stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green, and he was later punished with a fine by the NBA for it.
After several months of waiting for a rematch with both teams at full strength, Erik Spoelstra is now the one “Popoviching” us.
The Miami trio is technically listed with minor injuries, but you have to feel that if the Heat didn't have the Eastern Conference already locked up, they would find a way to tough it out against the Spurs.
Will we ever get to see these teams play against each other at full strength?
But they do have it locked up, and with the historic winning streak already over, the defending champs really have nothing to play for.
With Manu Ginobili out on the other side (h/t ESPN.com), the battle between two teams quickly approaching 60 wins just became a lot less enticing than originally anticipated.
Of course, when the Spurs rested their players during the first matchup, they still gave the Heat a battle, falling 105-100. This time around, it will be up to guys like Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh and Shane Battier to rise to the occasion and keep things competitive in San Antonio.
But if you want to see the Heat and Spurs superstars battle for the first time this season, it's going to have to come in the NBA Finals.