With the San Antonio Spurs beating the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night to advance to the 2014 NBA Finals, the excitement surrounding the playoff schedule has basketball fans ready for the championship series to begin.
San Antonio may have won the Western Conference, but the road to another NBA title won’t be easy as the franchise must square off against LeBron James and the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the finals.
With the two best teams in the league scheduled to meet in the championship, even basketball fans who don’t support either of these teams will be enthralled by the action on the court.
Here is the full 2014 NBA Finals schedule, television information and start times for the entire series:
|Game||Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|1||Thu, June 5||Miami at San Antonio||9 p.m.||ABC|
|2||Sun, June 8||Miami at San Antonio||8 p.m.||ABC|
|3||Tue, June 10||San Antonio at Miami||9 p.m.||ABC|
|4||Thu, June 12||San Antonio at Miami||9 p.m.||ABC|
|5*||Sun, June 15||Miami at San Antonio||8 p.m.||ABC|
|6*||Tue, June 17||San Antonio at Miami||9 p.m.||ABC|
|7*||Fri, June 20||Miami at San Antonio||9 p.m.||ABC|
Source: NBA.com *If necessary.
Breaking Down San Antonio vs. Miami
The San Antonio Spurs (62-20) will square off against the Miami Heat (54-28) in the 2014 NBA Finals for the second straight year to decide which is the best in the league.
Despite San Antonio having the better regular-season record and facing the tougher competition in the Western Conference, ESPN Radio host RJ Bell tweeted about how the betting opened with Miami as the favorite:
SportsCenter's official Twitter account hyped up the matchup like a prizefight in boxing:
Round 2! The Spurs and Heat will face off again in the NBA Finals, after a 7-game thriller last season. pic.twitter.com/bIHlts0Xxz— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 1, 2014
Drew Spevak of ESPN reminded the fans that the Heat vs. Spurs final was the matchup many experts predicted to start the season:
Wait a minute. It's Spurs-Heat for the NBA title??? I can't believe it! Its like the title game we all predicted in November.— Drew Spevak (@DrewSpevak) June 1, 2014
The Spurs deserve far more credit than they are being given. Not only did San Antonio beat the tough Dallas Mavericks in the opening round, but the team also went on to dominate the Portland Trail Blazers in Round 2.
Add in the monumental victory over a stacked team like the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, and the Spurs proved they still have the talent to contend for the championship.
When asked about the unified performance for San Antonio, Spurs forward Boris Diaw said this to Billy Witz of The New York Times:
It’s the most complete team in the league. Guys can come in, step up and play pretty much every way. I scored some points tonight, but it could be somebody else. I was open, and everybody’s ready to pass the ball to the open man.
Miami had a tough road to the finals as well. A first-round matchup against the Charlotte Bobcats wasn’t a great test, the battle against the Brooklyn Nets woke the team up and a matchup against the Indiana Pacers gave the Heat serious confidence.
San Antonio is much tougher than any team Miami has faced thus far during the playoffs, but longtime ESPN basketball personality Dick Vitale believes it will be the Heat that win the series:
Miami will have to earn every basket against the veteran-laden challengers with LeBron James drawing a likely matchup against Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Dwyane Wade being covered by the combination of Danny Green and Manu Ginobili.
Which team will win the NBA Championship?
Point guard and offensive cog Tony Parker came down awkwardly on his ankle during Game 6, according to Zach Harper of CBS Sports, and was forced to miss the remainder of the series-clinching game against the Thunder.
As long as the injury doesn’t cause Parker to miss any time, the Spurs have the depth and talent to beat Miami in an extended series. The Heat are too good to go out without a fight, though, and this series has all the earmarks of going seven games.
A seven-game series would be perfect for basketball fans throughout the NBA.
Predicted Series Winner: San Antonio, 4-3
*Stats via NBA.com.