San Antonio Spurs Set to Take on Miami Heat in NBA Finals
With the Heat’s victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday, the stage is finally set for the NBA Finals, where the San Antonio Spurs have been waiting ever since sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals over a week ago. Here is the schedule for the Finals:
- Game 1 in Miami: Thursday, June 6, 9 p.m. EST
- Game 2 in Miami: Sunday, June 9, 8 p.m. EST
- Game 3 in San Antonio: Tuesday, June 11, 9 p.m. EST
- Game 4 in San Antonio: Thursday, June 13, 9 p.m. EST
- Game 5 in San Antonio: Sunday, June 16, 8 p.m. EST
- Game 6 in Miami: Tuesday, June 18, 9 p.m. EST
- Game 7 in Miami: Thursday, June 20, 9 p.m. EST
The Heat are favorites in this series, and five point favorites in Game 1, but the Spurs can’t be counted out for one reason: their dynamic point guard Tony Parker. His ability to slash to the hoop and dish to wide-open three-point shooters is unmatched in the NBA, and he could give the Heat fits. He certainly did that to the Grizzlies, scoring 37 points in the fourth and final game of the Western Conference Finals.
“It’s a great feeling,” Parker said. “Since last year, I promised to (Tim Duncan) that we will go back, go back to the Finals and get an opportunity to win the whole thing and I’m trying to do my best, try to be aggressive every night. I think everybody on the team, we really want to do it for him. We win the West and now it’s one more step. This is the hardest one.”
The Spurs are one of the best-coached, hardest-working teams in the league. Their incredible run, including four titles with future Hall of Famer Time Duncan, has been truly special. They will look to win one last championship before their window closes, though the Heat will be a brutal opponent.
“It’s rare what we have,” Duncan said. “I know it. I know it’s rare what we have. Rare for the confidence that they have in Pop and the front office, rare for us playing together for so long. There’s a lot of rare air here. And it’s fun to be a part of it, honestly. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”
One of the most underrated subplots of the Finals is the fact that LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in the 2007 Finals by this Spurs team. He certainly remembers the sting of that defeat, and looks to avenge the loss. James is an infinitely better player now than he was then, with his offense ever evolving to incorporate three-point shooting and post-up moves, and he could single-handedly control the flow of the series.
“I have something in me that they took in ’07; beat us on our home floor, celebrated on our home floor,” James said. “I won’t forget that. You shouldn’t as a competitor. You should never forget that. It’s the same group of guys, for the most part. The same Big Three, and Coach [Gregg] Pop[ovich]. And I look forward to the challenge once again.”
“After that Finals he probably always obviously wanted to get back again, I think he probably always wanted to get back and play them,” Miami’s Dwyane Wade said of LeBron’s will to beat San
Antonio. “So obviously having this opportunity right now is probably something he always dreamed of, of getting back to the Finals and playing the Spurs again.”
The Spurs are going to give this absolutely everything they have, and the chess match between San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra should be epic. However, the Heat’s swarming defense and unparalleled athleticism will give the Spurs trouble, and I think the Heat win the whole shebang in six.