We got what we wanted ladies and gentlemen, a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. If you’ve been listening to Tim Duncan this is exactly where the Spurs thought they would at the end of the 2013-2014 NBA season.
“We got four more to win,” Duncan said. “We’ll do it this time.”
They’re back, and perhaps even better than a year ago.
The Spurs have been waiting for this opportunity since Ray Allen made his legacy defining back breaking three-pointer from the corner late in Game 6 of last year’s Finals, capping the Heat’s wild comeback from a five-point deficit in the final 28.2 seconds of regulation. There was a Game 7 two days later, though it almost needed an asterisk because San Antonio was already a beaten team.
With last year’s Finals still vivid in everyone’s mind a year later, Heat vs Spurs Part II has become must see television. For LeBron James the Spurs are all that stand between him and his career championship three-peat.
“They don’t like us, they don’t. I can sense it from Timmy’s comments over the last couple of days,” James told reporters in Miami on Monday. “They wanted this, they wanted us and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”
A big factor that many so call experts are overlooking when sizing up this series, is how much of a legacy defining series this year’s Finals really are.
For the four-time NBA MVP James, a three-peat is necessary if he is to go down as the best player to ever lace them up. Michael Jordan did it twice, Kobe Bryant did once and went back to back a few years later, if James wants into the discussion, winning this series is a necessary evil.
On the other side of the court you have Duncan. Who until last year had never lost an NBA Finals, a win for him will tie him with five rings with Bryant and cement him as one of the greatest players to lace them up this century.
While a loss will end his soon to be Hall of Fame career on a major sour note. Even Duncan’s head coach, Gregg Popovich’s legacy can be enhanced or dampened depending on the series outcome.
A win by the Spurs will make him the fifth coach in NBA history to win five titles and tie him with coaching greats Pat Riley and John Kundla.
I’m picking the Spurs in seven simply because I believe they have the more talented, deeper team combined with having home-court advantage this year should be just enough to knock King James and his crew of their NBA Championship home.
Game 1: 6/5 Heat @ Spurs 8:00 p.m.
Game 2: 6/8 Heat @ Spurs 7:00 p.m.
Game 3: 6/10 Spurs @ Heat 8:00 p.m.
Game 4: 6/12 Spurs @ Heat 8:00 p.m.
Game 5: 6/15 Heat @ Spurs 7:00 p.m.
Game 6: 6/17 Spurs @ Heat 8:00 p.m.
Game 7: 6/20 Heat @ Spurs 8:00 p.m.
Kendrick Johnson writes for a daily newspaper and is an independent print journalist who has covered the NBA Finals, championship boxing and UFC Fights and done numerous interviews with some of the biggest names and personalities in sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kendrickjohnso