|Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons|
The 2014 NBA Finals is set and it is a rematch between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.
For the first time since 1998 the NBA Finals is a rematch. Heat, the defending champion, and Spurs, the runner-up, may have taken different paths but still led them to where they met last year.
The two-time defending champion Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 117-92 on Friday, May 31 (Saturday morning in the Philippines) in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals to reach their fourth consecutive NBA Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 in overtime Saturday, June 1 (Sunday morning in the Philippines) in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals to set up a rematch with the Heat.
Looking back to last year’s finals, the Heat defeated the Spurs in best-of-seven championship series, rallying to win games six and seven at home. Leading by five points with 30 seconds remaining in a potential Game Six clincher in Miami, the Heat rose up with the help of Ray Allen’s miracle three-pointer to send the game to overtime, force a Game Seven and prevail to ruin Spurs’ chance for another title.
For the Spurs, they will be looking to avenge last year’s agonizing loss to the Heat. Victory for Spurs would deliver the fifth NBA crown of the franchise, marking a sweet revenge for a brutal loss in 2013 NBA Finals.
For the Heat, they are looking for a three-peat in their four straight NBA Finals appearance. Miami became the first team since the 1980s Boston Celtics to advance to the Finals in four straight years.
The question now: will Spurs get their revenge or will Heat win their third consecutive NBA championship?
Here’s the complete schedule, start time, live stream, TV info and venue of Heat vs. Spurs 2014 NBA Finals best-of-seven championship series.
|Venue||Date||Time||TV / Live Stream|
|Game 1||AT&T Center, SA||Friday, June 6||9:00 am||Basketball TV / ABC.go.com|
|Game 2||AT&T Center, SA||Monday, June 9||8:00 am||Basketball TV / ABC.go.com|
|Game 3||American Airlines Arena, MIA||Wednesday, June 11||9:00 am||Basketball TV / ABC.go.com|
|Game 4||American Airlines Arena, MIA||Friday, June 13||9:00 am||Basketball TV / ABC.go.com|
|Game 5 *||AT&T Center, SA||Monday, June 16||8:00 am||Basketball TV / ABC.go.com|
|Game 6 *||American Airlines Arena, MIA||Wednesday, June 18||9:00 am||Basketball TV / ABC.go.com|
|Game 7 *||AT&T Center, SA||Saturday, June 21||9:00 am||Basketball TV / ABC.go.com|
* = only if necessary | All times are in Philippine Standard Time
2014 NBA Finals Telecast Schedule on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action
Game 1 Results: San Antonio Spurs defeat Miami Heat, 110-95
Game 2 Results: Miami Heat defeat San Antonio Spurs, 98-96
Game 3 Results: San Antonio Spurs defeat Miami Heat, 111-92
Game 4 Results:: San Antonio Spurs defeat Miami Heat, 107-86 / Replay 7:00 pm on ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel 23
Game 5 Results:: San Antonio Spurs defeat Miami Heat, 104-87 / / Replay 7:00 pm on ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel 23
Center: Tim Duncan vs. Chris Bosh
Spurs has the advantage in center position based on stats in the playoffs, and experience of the players prior to NBA Finals with three-time Finals MVP Tim Duncan averaging 16.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 assist per game. Chris Bosh is averaging 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.
Power Forward: Boris Diaw/Tiago Splitter/Matt Bonner vs. Rashad Lewis/Udonis Haslem/Shane Battier
We are not sure what teams will do or who will be involved on this position. But with three players they usually used, the Spurs still has the advantage in power forward position based on statistics in the playoffs.
For the Spurs, Diaw is averaging 10 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Splitter is averaging 7.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Bonner is averaging 1.2 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game.
For the Heat, Lewis is averaging 4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game. Haslem is averaging 3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game. Battier is averaging 3.1 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game.
Diaw might be the best option. He had 26 points in series-clincher of the Western Conference finals and averaged 15.5 points against the Heat this season.
Lewis is hot beyond the arc. He hit nine three-pointers in the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals and maybe that’s the reason why the Heat may stick with him against the Spurs.
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard vs. LeBron James
The game’s best player against a fantastic young player. Obviously, the Heat has the advantage in small forward position. James, the game’s best player, is averaging 27.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Leonard, who matchup James in last year’s finals, is averaging 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in the playoffs.
In the 2013 finals, James averaged 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and 7 assists per game. Leonard spent majority of his minutes chasing James still contributed for the Spurs with an average of 14.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per game on 51.3 percent shooting during the series.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade vs. Danny Green
With years of experience and statistics in the postseason, Wade, the 2006 Finals MVP, has the edge over Green of Spurs.
Wade is averaging 18.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, while Green is averaging 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game.
Unlike last year, Wade is healthy now. He is not dealing with any injuries heading into finals rematch against Spurs. But we can’t ignore Green. He is deadly from the three point area. Green, the North Carolina product, made 27 three-pointers to set all-time record for a seven-game series in last year’s finals. With his shooting touch, maybe he will do it again in this year’s championship games.
Point Guard: Tony Parker vs. Mario Chalmers
Parker missed the second half of the Spurs’ Game 6 win over OKC with left ankle soreness. And that’s the issue when he will go up against Chalmers and the Miami Heat.
Assuming Parker is healthy and with the stats over the playoffs, the Spurs has the advantage in point guard position. The play maker from France is averaging 17.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. Chalmers is averaging 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
The Spurs had the best bench in the NBA during the regular season but the heat is the top-rated bench in the playoffs according to NBA.com.
According to HoosStats.com, Spurs’ bench outscored the Heat’s reserves this year, scoring 44.5 points per game to Miami’s 29.6.
Manu Ginobili led the bench brigade of Spurs, averaging 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Ray Allen, the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers, led the Heat’s reserves averaging 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Both teams have solid depth. The Spurs bench of Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Cory Joseph and others played a crucial role for San Antonio this season, especially in the deciding Game 6 of the West Conference finals when Spurs’ reserves outscored Oklahoma City Thunder’s 51-5. Heat has plenty of veterans including Allen, Norris Cole and Chris Andersen, but none are as consistently reliable as the bench of Spurs.
With the depth of the bench and figures from stats, the Spurs had the edge over the Heat.
Coach: Gregg Popovich vs. Erik Spoelstra
Coach Popovich is the 2014 NBA Coach of the Year for leading the Spurs to the NBA’s best record of the season with 62-20 win-loss record. Coach Spoelstra defeated Popovich last year in NBA Finals.
Popovich is going for fifth title, while Spoelstra is going for third title. Many said that Popovich is the master of the game and nobody’s better than the master. But if your team has the best player and the coach does the right move for his team, the game’s bright young mind can again upset the master.
In sixth or seventh game, the San Antonio Spurs will get their revenge on the Miami Heat and win the 2014 NBA Finals.
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