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Spurs confident in Parker's return for NBA finals opener

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The San Antonio Spurs aren't playing for an NBA finals berth on June 2. Since the Spurs finished off the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 31, even with Tony Parker out in the second half and overtime, they still have a few days to rest before the finals. While San Antonio may not be lucky in facing the Miami Heat again, it is lucky to get some rest, especially now that Parker is on track to return for Game 1.

According to ESPN on June 2, the Spurs are "expecting" Parker to play Game 1 against the Heat, since he will have four full days to rehab his sore ankle. If San Antonio lost to Oklahoma City in Game 6, it would have had to either rush Parker back or play Game 7 without him. Although the Spurs might have still had the advantage with their home court, there are no guarantees in a Game 7 -- and they already know that winning a Game 7 after blowing a chance to clinch in Game 6 is a dangerous task.

To avenge the 2013 NBA Finals against the Heat -- specifically Games 6 and 7 -- Parker will need to contribute in some way. The Spurs have defied old age and injuries time and again, but defying the Heat and the ghosts of 2013 already stands to be hard enough. San Antonio will need to be at full strength, especially since Miami has had an easier time through these playoffs.

This time around in the finals, the Spurs have home court advantage and are playing in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, instead of a 2-3-2. However, the Indiana Pacers lost just one home game to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, then never recovered because it couldn't win on the road. If the Spurs aren't careful enough, one home loss in Game 1 or 2 could end the finals before they really begin.

With or without Parker or home court, the Spurs are anxious to get their second chance. Even Tim Duncan called out the Heat in public after beating the Thunder, as he claimed he was "happy" to face them again and that the Spurs would "do it this time." Yet if Miami takes Game 1 on June 5, with or without Parker, those words may live to haunt Duncan and San Antonio.

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