NBA Finals 2014: Position-by-Position Matchup Preview

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NBA Finals 2014: Position-by-Position Matchup Preview
USA TODAY Sports

Get ready for Game 8 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

No, the league hasn't altered the format of the championship round. But after watching this year's Finals participants do battle in seven hard-fought contests last year, the rematch feels more like an extension of that tilt than the beginning of a new one.

Chris Bosh said as much, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel: "Because we've played this team before, and because they've played us, it's kind of like picking right back up where we left off. So this is Game 8, so to speak."

True enough.

These teams are well acquainted with one another, so the individual matchups and rotations won't provide any surprises...unless, of course, they do.

See, both teams have changed since last season, with Mike Miller leaving the Heat and Gary Neal bolting from San Antonio. Those two played key roles in last year's Finals, and their spots will be filled by new bodies.

Plus, both Miami and the Spurs have recently gone back to smaller lineups after spending most of the season playing bigger. The Heat dumped Udonis Haslem from the starting five three games into the Eastern Conference Finals, while San Antonio severed Tiago Splitter from the first unit midway through its series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Familiar as they may be, the Heat and Spurs each have big decisions and intriguing matchup options heading into the Finals.

And with two teams as experienced, capable and hungry as these two, the slightest advantage could make all the difference.

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