A year ago, the NBA found itself in the same position it’s in currently. The same two teams started their fight for the ultimate prize, the NBA Championship. It was on Thursday, June 6th that the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat met for Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Miami was coming off of a Game 7 win against the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio off of a sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies.
San Antonio won the first game of the series on Miami’s home court 92-88. Miami knew they wouldn’t stand a chance against the Spurs if they couldn’t get a win at home. They followed their Game 1 loss with a 19-point victory in front of their own fans in Game 2. The series was tied 1-1 and it was then a best-of-five series. It was now San Antonio’s turn to defend their home court for the next three games. Game 3 of the series was a blowout by the Spurs, 113-77. Up 2-1 in the series, San Antonio was in a good position, for all they had to do was win the next two games at home to be crowned champions. Miami responded with a Game 4 win, 109-93, with a dominant 33 points by LeBron James.
Now with the series tied 2-2, with three games left, whoever won two games would be champions. Game 5 was also in San Antonio and it was also when the Spurs cornered the Heat by going up 3-2 in the series. They won the game 114-104. The Heat would have to go against history for LeBron and the Heat to win their second-straight NBA Championship, but they did get to play the final two games at home. Game 6 came and it was a close one. With 28 seconds remaining, the Spurs found themselves up 5 and the signature championship red ropes started to come out in anticipation for the Spurs’ celebration. However, Ray Allen did something spectacular and made the crowd go crazy, like he has done time and time again. Following a LeBron James three, Allen tied the game up with just 5.2 seconds left to force overtime. The Heat outscored the Spurs 8-5 in overtime to force a Game 7, “the best two words in sports” as Coach Spoelstra explained it.
In Game 7, James came out ready to play. He scored 37 points and led his Miami Heat to their franchise’s second-straight championship. James got to hold that trophy again with a big smile on his face as his team won 95-88.
One year later, the Miami Heat find themselves in the NBA Finals for the fourth-straight year coming off of a Game 6 win against the familiar Indiana Pacers. The San Antonio Spurs look for revenge on Miami after a Game 6 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s an NBA Finals rematch between two of the best basketball teams and it couldn’t be more exciting. As we get ready for Game 1, let’s take a look back at this year’s regular season and see how the two team’s fared against each other.
Game 1 @ Miami – January 26, 2014
In their first meeting since Miami Heat defeated the Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, the Heat defended the Larry O’Brien Trophy with a 113-101 victory. They led the whole way, outscoring the Spurs 34-28 in the first quarter. Halftime showed a score of 58-50. In a dominant third quarter, the Heat expanded their lead to 20, leading 91-71. The Spurs ended the game outscoring the Heat 30-22 in the final quarter, but it just wasn’t enough.
For the Spurs, everybody on their roster scored a point. Tim Duncan led the way with 23 points, but was only limited to just three rebounds. Boris Diaw added 15 points and three assists, while Tony Parker scored just 11 points.
As of note, the Miami Heat had Dwyane Wade coming off the bench for the first time in his career. They were led by Chris Bosh, who scored a game-high 24 points off 9-of-10 shooting. LeBron James added 18 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, while Mario Chalmers scored 16 points and dished 7 assists as well. Michael Beasley and Dwyane Wade came off the bench and scored 12 points and 11 points, respectively.
The Miami Heat out-rebounded the Spurs 37-28. They limited the Spurs to just 27 percent from behind the three-point line, making only six of their 22 shots from that distance. The Heat shot 58 percent from the floor, better than the Spurs 50 percent.
Game 2 @ San Antonio – March 6, 2014
The San Antonio Spurs finally got revenge on the Miami Heat in their second and final meeting of the regular season. They won at home 111-87, defeating the two-time defending champions by 24 points. The Spurs came out swinging with a 15-point lead over the Heat after the first quarter. Going into halftime, the Spurs were up 62-51. After the third quarter, the Heat brought the game within eight points heading into the final quarter. However, the Spurs ended strong, outscoring the Heat 29-13 leading to the win.
For the Heat, Chris Bosh once again led them with a game-high 24 points and also added seven rebounds. LeBron James had 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Dwyane Wade (who was back in the starting lineup and healthy) added 16 points, seven assists and three rebounds. Micheal Beasley once again had a good night off the bench, scoring 11 points and grabbed six rebounds.
The San Antonio Spurs were led by Tim Duncan, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Parker scored 17 points, Boris Diaw had 16 points and eight rebounds and Kawhi Leonard added 11 points.
The Miami Heat didn’t shoot as well as their first meeting, only shooting 43 percent from the floor on this occasion. They only shot 4-of-13 from behind the three-point line, compared to San Antonio’s 9-of-23. San Antonio outrebounded the Heat 45-36. The difference for the Spurs was their bench production, which ultimately led to the win. Their bench outscored Miami’s 38-23. Only three players off of Miami’s bench scored, compared to six players off San Antonio’s bench.
Keys To Victory
These two teams have been in this position before. The regular season showed that Chris Bosh can have a dominant game against the Spurs, which was a big upside for the Heat against the Pacers. Also, James hasn’t scored that well against the Spurs in the regular season, so Miami will need him to come out strong to get a victory. Dwyane Wade just needs to do what he normally does. One more thing that will, and has, helped Miami in the playoffs was their role players. Players like Chris Andersen, Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen need to contribute off the bench.
The Spurs are going to need to be led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. If they can dominant the Heat’s “Big Three,” then they will have a good chance in the Finals. Also, Danny Green will need to be effective from long-range, much like he was in last year’s Finals. One more thing for the Spurs, which helped them beat the Heat in the regular season, is their bench production. They have a very deep roster and need to use that as an advantage against the Miami Heat.
Editor’s Note: This is a guess post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can him on twitter @NBAandNFLInfo or on theFantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for moreNBA basketball news visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – afantasy basketball blog