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Critical Keys for Miami Heat to Top San Antonio Spurs in 2013 Finals

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Critical Keys for Miami Heat to Top San Antonio Spurs in 2013 Finals
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Will LeBron James get his second NBA title?

Back before Interleague play, baseball's World Series arrived with some mystery. 

It was the first time that teams that from the American and National League faced each other all season, so there was no way to know exactly how the matchups would play out. 

This NBA Finals is as close as American team sports can come to those old World Series.

That's what makes it a challenge to identify the areas of most importance, as this series starts on Thursday. 

Yes, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs faced each other twice this season, once last season and twice the season prior. But those contests offer little insight into what's to come in the next week or two. 

In 2010-11, the first season following LeBron James' decision to collaborate with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami, the Heat were still finding themselves, and their two games with San Antonio were fluky—one 30-point win for each side.

In 2011-12, the teams played only once due to the lockout, and neither Wade nor Manu Ginobili participated.

In 2012-13, the teams played twice, but with few of the names you know. Prior to the November 29 game in Miami, Gregg Popovich sent his three stars back to San Antonio on Southwest Airlines, and Kahwi Leonard was out with an injury. In the March 31 rematch? James, Wade and Mario Chalmers watched, all nursing minor injuries in what qualified as the start of the Heat's maintenance program.

Payback?

“I can see where you guys could draw those conclusions, but no,” Erik Spoelstra said at the time.

"Who would think of something like that?" Gregg Popovich quipped upon finding out.

We think everyone will be playing in this series.

So what are the keys for Miami?

 

(All quotes for this piece were collected over the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post.)

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