The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are ready to go at each other in the 2014 NBA Finals after a long road to the NBA's promised land.
After rigorous paths to the championship round, the Heat and Spurs are ready to get going on a rematch of last year's NBA Finals. Last year, of course, it was Miami that hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy. It took some late-game heroics from Ray Allen for it to happen, and San Antonio will look to prevent Miami from even getting game-winning opportunities this time around.
In a battle of "Big Threes," which team will reign supreme in 2014? Will Tim Duncan or LeBron James steal the show? Or, better yet, will another player be the talk of the championship series?
To find out, you'll have to watch all the action. Below you'll find TV and live stream info and even odds for the NBA Finals.
Odds are courtesy of Odds Shark on June 2.
|San Antonio Spurs||10-11|
All games can be seen online at ABC.go.com.
|Game||Date||Time (ET)||Away||Home||TV Info|
|1||June 5||9 p.m.||Heat||Spurs||ABC|
|2||June 8||8 p.m.||Heat||Spurs||ABC|
|3||June 10||9 p.m.||Spurs||Heat||ABC|
|4||June 12||9 p.m.||Spurs||Heat||ABC|
|5*||June 15||8 p.m.||Heat||Spurs||ABC|
|6*||June 17||9 p.m.||Spurs||Heat||ABC|
|7*||June 20||9 p.m.||Heat||Spurs||ABC|
The Heat are going for their third straight championship. They are the epitome of a dynasty, as this is also their fourth straight appearance in the NBA Finals. This team has a lot to lose, however, as the Spurs can show that they have improved from last season and adapted their game strategies in an effort to prevent Miami from beating them yet again.
Miami is a tough group though, and Adi Joseph of USA Today points to what gives them the advantage in this series:
No team stretches a defense quite as well as the Heat, with James and [Dwyane] Wade penetrating and everyone else hitting open three-pointers. And the Heat buy into everything from coach Erik Spoelstra, who no longer has to prove himself to earn his place among the NBA's best. Spurs point guard Tony Parker has dealt with ankle issues and missed the entire second half of Game 6 of the West finals, which could be the exact push the Heat need to maintain their status as favorites.
The key to this series will be Chris Bosh and how well he can execute on offense. Bosh has taken a whole lot of threes this postseason, and while the Heat keep on winning, that game plan could negatively impact their efficiency against a team like the Spurs.
The competition of the Eastern Conference allowed Miami to toy with teams from time to time. San Antonio is by far the best team Miami will see this postseason. That means they'll need to fire on all cylinders.
If Bosh insists on jacking up threes instead of playing in the paint or shooting mid-range jumpers, the Heat could have problems. James and Wade score enough in the paint to keep the Spurs honest, but there's nothing quite like a big man that is capable of putting his back to the basket and scoring.
Bosh will need to do a little of that in this series.
San Antonio Spurs
The key for San Antonio is to keep Tony Parker on the court as much as possible. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that he'll likely play in Game 1.
"The San Antonio Express-News quoted a source Sunday saying that Parker 'absolutely' will be ready to play in Game 1 despite an ankle injury that plagued him for much of the Western Conference finals."
Who ya got?
Parker is the glue to this team. The point guard is a brilliant facilitator that will prevent defenses from crowding Duncan under the basket. With Parker on the perimeter, the Heat will have to keep someone in his face at all times. This will put the pressure on Parker and could potentially cause errant passes and easy points off turnovers.
If Parker can't play big minutes because of this injury, the Spurs will need to get creative offensively. Manu Ginobili and Danny Green will need to shoot lights out on the perimeter, and Kawhi Leonard will need to improve on last year's showing in the Finals.
As a competitor, Parker will more than likely be on the court during each game's crucial moments. That is, of course, unless the pain is so bad that he can't suit up for individual games.