It is conceivable that most Miami Heat fans were rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night. The notion of having a rematch against the San Antonio Spurs, the league’s most terrifyingly cohesive basketball team, was enough to give even myself a stomachache. But there it was, Kevin Durant missing shot after shot, and Tim Duncan making ever single one of his. As the overtime buzzer sounded, and the Thunder slumped off the court in defeat, the Spurs celebrated because they knew what was next: a chance to exact revenge on the team that literally ripped last season’s title right out of their hands.
During the post-game interviews, Duncan made a proclamation, one that was bolder than his normal utterances.
“It’s unbelievable to regain that focus after that devastating loss that we had last year, but we’re back here,” Duncan said. “We’re excited about it. We’ve got four more to win. We’ll do it this time. We’re happy it’s the Heat again. We’ve got that bad taste in our mouths still.”
This mind-set of Duncan’s seems to be more of the collective sort, almost a rallying cry to his fellow teammates for what is in store. Due to the fact that the Spurs have home-court advantage, and have been playing the best team basketball we have seen in years, the Heat will be the underdogs. This is a definite first for the defending champs, who have typically come into every playoff series since the formation of the Big 3 as slight or overwhelming favorites. How this series ends will define many players involved, but more importantly, LeBron James, who is on the precipice of being considered one of the greatest basketball players to ever play this game.
We are in store for one of the most epic NBA Finals matchups in years. The last time there was a rematch of the Finals was during Michael Jordan’s last title run in 1998 against the Utah Jazz, and we all know how that ended. The biggest difference here is that Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were never considered big underdogs against the Jazz. The Heat most definitely are against the Spurs.