Heat, Spurs to play for NBA title



TIM REYNOLDS | AP

Published — Tuesday 4 June 2013

Last update 9 June 2013 2:06 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

MIAMI: The NBA Finals matchup is finally set, and the Miami Heat will either win a second straight title or the San Antonio Spurs will deny LeBron James a championship ring for the second time.
The Heat earned their third consecutive Eastern Conference title on Monday, beating the Indiana Pacers 99-76 in Game 7 of their series.
So it’s Heat vs. Spurs for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, a series that will begin on Thursday in Miami, on the same floor where the Heat and James finished off Oklahoma City to win last season’s title.
Miami is looking for its third championship, San Antonio its fifth. And for James, it’s a chance to erase a memory that has stung him for six years.
His first trip to the finals came when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007, and it was ugly — the Spurs winning in a four-game sweep for what was their fourth title. San Antonio has not won the West since, so maybe it’s fitting that its return comes against James, albeit with the now four-time Most Valuable Player in a different uniform.
“Obviously, I needed more,” James said. “Our team, we were really good, but we weren’t great. And that was a great team. We lost to a better team. So I understand that we needed more. We continued to get better over the years, but we never got to that level.”
When that series was over, Spurs forward Tim Duncan approached James in a quiet moment and offered some words of encouragement about his budding superstardom.
Four MVPs, two more finals trips and one ring — and counting — later, James’ star level is now meteoric. He’ll have a chance to not only win consecutive championships, but consecutive regular-season and finals MVPs as well.
“The best player in the world,” is how Indiana coach Frank Vogel described James.
When the Heat and Spurs meet, it will mark their third meeting of the season. It may as well be the first.
Miami won both games this season, though it’s doubtful much of anything worthwhile could be gleaned for the scouting reports from those contests. The Spurs sat four regulars in the first meeting, and drew a $250,000 fine from the NBA after coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to send Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Tony Parker home before the game and at the end of a long road trip.
Predictably, Popovich’s decision was immediately subject to scrutiny, and he even joked in his pregame media availability that night that the crowd of journalists around him resembled what he’d see in an NBA Finals setting.
Which, come Wednesday when both teams will practice in Miami, is exactly what Popovich will see. It’ll be a finals that have a clash of on-court, off-court and even cultural styles. The Heat play a flashier brand of basketball, have stars who are some of the world’s best-known — and best-paid — endorsers of products, and have had no choice but to embrace a constant spotlight.
The Spurs, meanwhile, seem to revel in shunning any sort of extra attention.
“I wouldn’t say we avoid the attention, but I don’t think we’re out seeking it,” Spurs forward Matt Bonner said. “Our team culture starts with our leadership, guys like Timmy and Coach Pop, that we focus on ourselves and what we need to do to complete the task, get the job done. Whatever attention we get outside of that, I don’t think we run from it, but we’re not out seeking it. At least, I think so. I hope so.”
When the teams met in San Antonio in late March, Miami’s 27-game winning streak — the second-best run in NBA history — had just ended, so the Heat kept James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers out while dealing with injuries. And Miami prevailed anyway behind Chris Bosh, who hit a late 3-pointer to seal an 88-86 victory.
Nobody will be resting anybody in the finals. The Spurs, who will have been idle for more than a week by the time Game 1 starts, finally know who stands in their way.
The Spurs have been going live in practice, trying their best to stay sharp.
“It’s just long. It’s long,” Parker said of the layoff. “Wish we could play like right now.”
Soon enough, he’ll get his wish.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, on Thursday led the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia taking part in the meeting of the international coalition countries to coun...
Munich: Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir led the Saudi delegation to the meetings of the International Syria Support Group meetings, taking place here.The meetings, which have begun, in Vienna, exert efforts to find a political so...
Brigadier General Ahmad Al-Assiri, the Military Advisor to the Minister of Defense, asserted the Kingdom is ready to send ground troops to fight Daesh, as soon as the international coalition gives the green light, and that this decision of Saudi Arab...
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will host the first meeting of the 34-member Islamic Military Alliance next month. According to a report in the local media, the meeting will bring together all nations of the newly formed coalition, led by Saudi Arabia.The allia...
JAZAN: Seven lives were snuffed out and several others sustained injuries as a gunman went on a killing spree in Al-Dair governorate of Jazan on Thursday. Employees at an education department office came under a hail of bullets resulting in casualtie...
RIYADH: The ongoing Janadriyah national heritage and culture festival welcomed German government representatives as the guests of honor, marking a new era in Saudi-German ties.Detlef Daues, chief executive officer of a German business group, said: “I...
RIYADH: Highlighting the importance of caring, preservation and better maintenance of mosques located along highways in the Kingdom, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Masajedna Foundation will honor excellence in...
ABHA: Women graduates in Asir say they are looking for private companies to hire them for online jobs which can be done at home.They asked businessmen to open new production lines for women in both factories and banks.The women said that this would c...
ABHA: Deviant groups have attempted to attract Saudi women to carry out terrorist operations by various means and in sinister ways.Many women have been found to have been recruited by terrorist groups inside and outside the Kingdom.Islamic scholar Mo...
RIYADH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has written a patriotic poem to inspire Saudi troops at the southern borders.Titled, “I wish to be with you,” the poem infuses encouragement in the hearts and minds of troops guarding the borders in Najran,...
RIYADH: A delegation of senior officials from King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) visited the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) to discuss cooperation between the two institutions on sustainable energ...
RIYADH: The Office of the Education Department in eastern Taif has launched a program called “Fatin” which aims to protect students from intellectual threats around them.Fahhad Al-Zuibi, director at the Office for Education said, “The program aims to...
RIYADH: The Taif theater group won two awards when it participated recently in the ninth edition of a theatrical festival in Bahrain. The group, which represented the Kingdom in the theatrical festival, mounted a play production titled “Out of Contro...
RIYADH: Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar inaugurated the first festival for families with handicapped members at the King Fahd Cultural Center (KFCC) on Wednesday evening. The festival, which will last for three days, features a bazaar that displ...
RIYADH: A separate department to provide enhanced security to the Kingdom’s schools will be set up in all educational regions, Education Minister Ahmad Mohamed Al-Issa announced on Wednesday.Under the new directive, such departments will be establish...

Stay Connected

Facebook