• October 31, 2014

Spurs finish what they couldn’t last season

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Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014 4:30 am

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs played one of the closest NBA Finals in recent memory last year.

The Spurs stole home court in Game 1 before the teams took turns blowing each other out, leading to San Antonio heading to Miami up 3-2 in the series.

What happened after that will live on in Finals lore.

The Spurs blew a five-point lead in the final half-minute, including allowing an offensive rebound that led to Ray Allen hitting an iconic 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, before falling in overtime and losing the series two nights later in Game 7.

As Bill Simmons wrote for Grantland, the Spurs may have come the closest to winning a title without actually winning a title of any team in NBA history.

Now, remarkably, the Spurs are back in the Finals, having already exorcised one demon in the Oklahoma City Thunder, who they dodged in the playoffs last year but vanquished in six games in the Western Conference finals this year.

The Spurs pushed Miami in a way no team besides the Dallas Mavericks have since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the team in 2010.

The Spurs are NBA chameleons of sorts — able to adjust to any and every lineup an opposing team can throw at them, which they proved in the last round against Oklahoma City, which temporarily threw them for a loop with the return of Serge Ibaka in Game 3.

Yet the Heat has been just as adept at making necessary adjustments these past two seasons, a big reason it is the two-time defending champion.

The inevitable adjustments and counters both teams will make over the course of the series is perhaps the most fascinating subplot of the series.

And yet, in the end, the series may come down to one offensive rebound, as it did last year.

One cannot predict who benefits from that bounce this time, but the Spurs are a bit better this season while the Heat are a tad worse.

That ought to be just enough to do what they weren’t able to do last season — Spurs in six.

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