We are just mere hours away from the Game 1 tip-off of the 2014 NBA Finals. This rematch of the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs has so many different storylines to choose from it’s hard to really keep track. When analyzing this match-up, we can only recall data from last year’s NBA Finals, where the Heat were just seconds away from losing to the Spurs. Even though the Heat ultimately prevailed and won the title in seven games, many still view their victory as tainted because of how they won Game 6. LeBron James said before practice on Wednesday:
“We feel slighted. I can’t sit here and lie to you, we do. It went seven [games], it wasn’t like it was 3-0 and they had us in Game 4 and we took it and won four straight. If you look at the numbers, look at the numbers, the lead changes, the ties and the points in that series, it’s almost even.”
The fact that the Heat were able to come back from a five-point deficit might have been luck, but what about the overtime period shortly after? No luck there as the Heat were able to pull out a 103-100 victory. How about Game 7? There was no comeback in that game for the Heat either, who thoroughly dominated the Spurs in Game 7 of the series to win, 95-88.
Game 6 will always be defined by Ray Allen’s shot from the corner to send it into overtime, but what should be remembered is how the Heat as a team took care of business down the stretch. Even with their clutch overtime victory, there was no assurance that Game 7 would end in a Heat victory, as the wins and losses in this series had been alternating.
Luck wasn’t the reason the Heat won the NBA championship in 2012. It was a combination of an amazing shot by Allen and the ability of James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat to close out the series. This team has been defined by their postseason success, recently setting a franchise record for most consecutive road wins in the playoffs. The Heat will look to continue this domination on the road Thursday night against the Spurs, and hopefully they will not have to rely upon a Ray Allen three-pointer to keep the series going.