Both the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs are looking to win Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals, but the contest doesn’t always indicate who will win the series.
Last year, the Spurs beat the Heat in the Finals opener, 92-88. Tony Parker clinched the victory for San Antonio with a last-second circus shot. Despite losing Game One and home-court advantage, the Heat went on to take the series in seven games.
Miami faced a similar predicament in this year’s Eastern Conference finals. They lost to the Indiana Pacers in the opener by 11 points, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate. Even after starting the series on the road, the Heat went on to win four of the next five games to advance.
The Spurs usually get off to a hot start in their playoff series, even if they fail to advance to the next round. They’ve taken the opener of their last 10 series, with their most recent Game 1 loss coming in 2011 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Game 1 Keys
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It’s obviously important for stars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to play well, but the supporting casts could determine the winner of the opener.
Last year, Spurs guard Danny Green may have been the series MVP for the first five games. After making just two of his final 11 three-point attempts, he still finished the series with a 55.1 shooting percentage from behind the arc.
Against the Pacers, Rashard Lewis came on strong towards the end of the series, to help the Heat reach the Finals. Ray Allen made some big shots for the Heat in last year’s postseason, but he’s struggled with his shot this season.
Every game of the 2014 NBA Finals will be broadcast on ABC. Game One is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET at the AT&T Center. Viewers can watch a free live stream online with WatchESPN.
The Heat and Spurs are both well-rested, having not played since Friday and Saturday, respectively. San Antonio won’t be easily defeated at home, where they went 32-9 in the regular season and have won eight straight playoff games by an average of 21.5 points.
However, Parker’s ankle injury is a concern, and he’s admitted that he isn’t 100 percent. The point guard struggled at times in the 2013 postseason, because of an injury, and the same could happen in Game One. If Parker can’t contribute the way he’s capable, the Spurs could be at a serious disadvantage.
Miami over San Antonio, 100-94