History will be written in the 2014 NBA playoffs.
If the Miami Heat defeat the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals for the second straight year, the team will cement itself as one of the greatest squads in league history. If the Spurs get revenge, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich will climb up the lists of all-time greatest players and coaches.
Here's information on how to watch every momentous game (via ESPN) and a list of the series' biggest X-factors.
|2014 NBA Finals Schedule|
|1||Thus., June 5||9 p.m.||SA||MIA||ABC|
|2||Sun., June 8||8 p.m.||SA||MIA||ABC|
|3||Tues., June 10||9 p.m.||MIA||SA||ABC|
|4||Thurs., June 12||9 p.m.||MIA||SA||ABC|
|5*||Sun., June 15||8 p.m.||SA||MIA||ABC|
|6*||Tues., June 17||9 p.m.||MIA||SA||ABC|
|7*||Fri., June 20||9 p.m.||SA||MIA||ABC|
4. Rashard Lewis
No one would've called Lewis an X-factor a week ago, but he nailed nine threes over the last two games of the Eastern Conference finals.
If Lewis continues to shoot 56.3 percent from downtown (or even remotely close to that), he forces the Spurs to play small. Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter can't be on the floor together when the Heat play five guys at the same time who can consistently hit open threes.
3. Danny Green
Green's shooting ability played a major role in the Spurs' victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. Had he struggled with his shooting in more games than he did, San Antonio's season may be over.
|Danny Green's Shooting in the Western Finals|
Green's performance in the 2013 NBA Finals tells a similar tale.
He averaged 18.0 points per game through Game 5, and the Spurs held a 3-2 series lead. In the final two games, Green made only two field goals. Miami won the last two games and the title.
2. Mario Chalmers
Chalmers is the most clutch player in this series who isn't bound for the Hall of Fame.
Over the course of his career, he's only averaged 8.6 points per game. In the 2013 NBA Finals, though, 14, 19 and 20-point performances by Chalmers were instrumental in three Heat victories. In the 2012 NBA Finals, he scored 25 points in Game 5, putting the Heat up 3-1 over the Thunder and erasing a 43-point effort by Russell Westbrook.
1. Manu Ginobili
Ginobili played worse last year than he had since his rookie season. The historically clutch Ginobili struggled throughout the playoffs in particular, shooting just 39.9 percent from the field.
His struggles continued against the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals. He averaged 3.1 turnovers per game, a whole turnover more than his career average.
Despite being a year older, the 36-year-old veteran has bounced back this season. He averaged 15.2 points on 50.0 percent shooting, 3.7 assists and just 1.0 turnovers per game against the Thunder in the Western Conference finals. For San Antonio to defeat Miami this year, Ginobili must not revert back to his 2013 form.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.
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