Legacies of some of the greatest players in NBA history will be written during the remaining 2014 playoff schedule.
Even the casual fan won't want to miss a second of action.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat are peaking at exactly the right time while the Indiana Pacers are trying to regroup. Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder must do regrouping of their own after losing Serge Ibaka for the season to injury. Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs could take advantage of Ibaka's absence or be slowed by an ailment to a star of their own, Tony Parker.
Here is how to watch both intriguing conference finals series.
|1||Sun., May 18||3:30 p.m.||IND||MIA||ABC|
|2||Tues., May 20||8:30 p.m.||IND||MIA||ESPN|
|3||Sat., May 24||8:30 p.m.||MIA||IND||ESPN|
|4||Mon., May 26||8:30 p.m.||MIA||IND||ESPN|
|5*||Wed., May 28||8:30 p.m.||IND||MIA||ESPN|
|6*||Fri., May 30||8:30 p.m.||MIA||IND||ESPN|
|7*||Sun., June 1||8:30 p.m.||IND||MIA||ESPN|
|1||Mon., May 19||9 p.m.||SA||OKC||TNT|
|2||Wed., May 21||9 p.m.||SA||OKC||TNT|
|3||Sun., May 25||8:30 p.m.||OKC||SA||TNT|
|4||Tues., May 27||9 p.m.||OKC||SA||TNT|
|5*||Wed., May 29||9 p.m.||SA||OKC||TNT|
|6*||Sat. May 31||8:30 p.m.||OKC||SA||TNT|
|7*||Mon., June 2||9 p.m.||SA||OKC||TNT|
On paper, Indiana looks capable of keeping Miami out of the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. But the Pacers' inconsistent offense has reached a new level of instability. They're averaging 91.4 points per game this postseason, despite playing teams which combined for a .500 record in the regular season.
Roy Hibbert will set the tone for the series. The five times he scored in double figures this postseason, Indiana won. It's 3-5 when he doesn't.
Against a Heat team 8-1 this postseason and averaging 99.6 points per game, against the best player in the NBA until someone takes the Larry O'Brien Trophy from him, LeBron James, Hibbert and the Pacers must be flawless. And they've been anything but since the trade deadline.
Oklahoma City enters the Western Finals more polished than Indiana but just as unstable after losing its most valuable defensive player to a calf injury.
Durant and Russell Westbrook were already shouldering 55.5 percent of the Thunder's scoring load this postseason. Ibaka is its third leading scorer. They'll have to help make up for his offensive production, while the Spurs are smoking.
San Antonio is the highest scoring team left in the postseason, dropping 105.5 points a night. It averages four players in double figures and eight who score at least 7.8 points per game. An injury to its leading scorer, Parker, could've slowed the electric attack, but Greg Simmons of KSAT 12 Sports reported that it isn't as major as Ibaka's.
All reports indicate that Tony Parker's left hamstring injury is not serious. According to Tim we shut him down before he hurt himself.— Greg Simmons (@GregSimmonsKSAT) May 15, 2014
And that isn't what Oklahoma City needed to hear.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.