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2014 NBA Finals preview: San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, part deux

The San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat will square off for the second straight season in the NBA Finals. The Spurs earned their way to the championship series with hard-fought 112-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 31, while the Heat up-ended the Eastern Conference top-seeded Indiana Pacers four-games-to-two the night before.

San Antonio, thanks to their NBA best 62-20 regular season record, will have home court advantage. The series will get underway on June 5 at the AT&T Center where the Spurs are 41-10, including 9-1 in the playoffs, this year. San Antonio is 33-16 on the road with five of those losses coming after the regular season.

Miami is 26-22 on the road this year and 40-9 at home . The Heat are 4-3 away from American Airlines Arena this postseason, losing twice at Indiana and once in Brooklyn.

This is the first NBA finals rematch since 1998 when the Chicago Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz in back-to-back years. Miami won their second straight NBA championship by defeating San Antonio four-games-to-three in a fantastic series last year.

2014 series: Series tied 1-1. San Antonio won 111-87 at home on March 6, while Miami took the first matchup 113-102.

About Miami

Miami is in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year and fifth time since 2006. The Heat are 3-1 in the championships series winning titles in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Since the 2008-09 season – head coach Erik Spoelstra’s first season – Miami is 314-189 during the regular season and 64-32 in the playoffs.

Miami finished 12th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 102.9 points a game, and were fifth in defense permitting 97.4 points a game. The Heat are playing good basketball during the postseason having topped the century mark six times and have held their opponents to under 90 points six times in their 14 playoff games. Miami is 12-3 in the postseason having swept Charlotte, beating Brooklyn 4-1 before taking down Indiana 4-2.

And of course, the Heat have their “Big Three” --- two-time Finals MVP LeBron James as well as a healthy Dwayne Wade (2006 Finals MVP) and Chris Bosh. James is averaging 27.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 56.2 percent from the field during the postseason. Wade is averaging 18.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from beyond the arc. Bosh is averaging 15.2 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc.

The Heat are 58-24 in the playoffs with James, Wade and Chris Bosh on the team.

About San Antonio

With this trip to the NBA Finals, San Antonio becomes the sixth team to make six Finals appearances. The Spurs are 4-1 in those Finals winning titles in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Head coach Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches in NBA history. He has led the Spurs to the playoffs in 17-of-his 18 years in San Antonio and is 967-443 during the regular season. Popovich has a 145-89 playoff record.

San Antonio finished the season ranked sixth in the NBA in scoring with 105.2 points a game and sixth in defense allowing 97.6 points a game. The Spurs have continued their offensive proficiency in the playoffs having topped the century mark 12 times in 18 postseason games and shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from beyond the arc. San Antonio has struggled defensively during the postseason, surrendering 100 points 10 times.

San Antonio is 12-6 in the playoffs defeating Dallas 4-3, Portland 4-1 and Oklahoma City 4-2.

’s health will be key for the Spurs. The team’s regular season leading scorer is averaging a team high 17.2 points and 4.9 assists while shooting 48.7 percent from the field. However, three-time Finals MVP Tim Duncan has been playing very well this postseason as well as Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green.

Complete Finals series schedule

Game 1 - Thu, June 5, Miami at San Antonio, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2 - Sun, June 8, Miami at San Antonio, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 3 - Tue, June 10, San Antonio at Miami, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 4 - Thu, June 12, San Antonio at Miami, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 5 -Sun, June 15, Miami at San Antonio, 8 p.m. ET, ABC (if necessary)
Game 6 -Tue, June 17, San Antonio at Miami, 9 p.m. ET, ABC (if necessary)
Game 7 - Fri, June 20, Miami at San Antonio, 9 p.m. ET, ABC (if necessary)

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