The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will do battle tonight in Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Playoffs Finals on ABC. While the series is expected to be a tight one that could possibly go as many as seven games, the big story coming in is how LeBron James was swept out of the NBA Finals back in 2007 by the same core Spurs team while he was the anchor of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and finally has a chance at revenge.
As far as both teams are concerned, that 2007 series was then and this is now. The Spurs know that James is a vastly improved player today than he was in 2007. They know he’s got much more talent around him including Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, even if both players had mediocre showings in the Eastern Conference Finals. They know this James can take over a game and win it on his own.
Even if James is on fire, it would be nice if his teammates were able to chip in a little more on offense. Both Wade and Bosh have been bothered by nagging injuries that have been reflected in the box score. Tony Parker has the ability to match James’ scoring straight up, so the Heat can use Bosh or Wade getting on a roll to provide a 1-2 offensive punch.
The Spurs weren’t supposed to be in this position despite their regular season dominance. The Thunder and Clippers were widely considered the top contenders after it became apparent the Lakers weren’t all they were initially cracked up to be. Even as the Spurs got hot in the regular season, the Clippers and Thunder remained the focus in the West.
Yet here we are with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili once again representing the West in the NBA Finals. They have dispatched younger and faster teams to get to this point and if there’s anyone who knows how to adjust to smother the competition, it’s them. The big question surrounding the Spurs is whether a lengthy period of time off between games will have them come out rusty in Game 1 against the Heat.
Tonight’s round one of the NBA 2013 Playoffs Finals between the visiting San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat tips off at 8:00/7:00c in high definition (HD) exclusively on ABC. The network is not providing an option of watching a free online live streaming version of Game 1 in Miami via a mobile phone, iPad, laptop or other Internet connected device. You can watch pre-game coverage here at the official NBA website. With the Heat at home and LeBron out for revenge, I expect an 88-83 Heat win to kick off these NBA Finals.