Here we are.
The two best teams in the world ready to square off tonight at 9 on ABC.
This 2014 NBA Finals is a rematch of last year's Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. And it promises to be a doozy.
With the series kicking off tonight and Vegas fluctuating between favoring Miami one day and San Antonio the next, it seems as if the Spurs are coming in as slight favorites to win it all.
But there are many burning questions to answer as the Heat goes for its three-peat.
So, let's try to tackle them as we get ready for another epic showdown.
See also: 19 Things More Exciting Than Tim Duncan
1. So what should we expect in this series?
A lot of action, a lot of runs, a lot of points, and a lot of drama. Chances are this series won't be able to live up to last year's version, but it's going to come pretty damned close. Also, expect a lot of ass-clenching moments.
Yes. Like when Danny Green hit roughly 8,572 three-pointers in Game 3 last year. Or like when we were down three with 28 seconds remaining in Game 6 with the series on the line. You know. Ass-clenching.
3. Oh. Yeah. My ass is clenching right now just thinking about it.
Yeah. And the scary part is that this Spurs team appears to be better than last year's Spurs team. So pucker up.
4. Yoinks. OK, so let's talk strategy. What do the Spurs bring to the table?
In a word: precision. They are a precision offense that is excellent at shooting the ball around before they find the perfect opportunity for a high-percentage shot. This is where Tony Parker is key. If he's on his game, it makes things that much tougher.
5. But isn't his ankle screwed up?
So they say. But Tony Parker is French. If movies about World War II have taught us anything, it's never trust the French.
6. What will the Heat do, then?
Well, what seemed to work for the team against San Antonio last year was when Miami went small. The Spurs couldn't handle Miami's small-ball offense, and with Dwyane Wade on the sidelines at times, things opened up for the Heat's offense. Their spacing was better, their defense tighter, and their runs quicker. The Heat might mix and match some version of that in these Finals, because it was devastating last year.
7. So, what? Bench Wade?
Oh no. Nothing like that.
8. You just said the Heat looked better with Wade on the bench
9. The hell, man? What are you trying to pull?
Look, all I'm saying is that the stats show the Heat's offense was better with Wade off the floor last year. But...
10. YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! D-WADE IS AN ALL-TIME GREAT. OH AND DID YOU FORGET HIS GAME 4 PERFORMANCE WHEN HE OBLITERATED THE SPURS? WHAT ABOUT GAME 7??? OH, HOW EASILY WE FORGET!
If you let me explain, what I'm trying to say is that last year Wade was not himself. He was injured and slower than we're used to seeing him. However, as we've seen in these playoffs -- particularly against the Pacers -- Wade has been a freight train of devastation. He averaged 19 points against the best defense in the league, and the Heat had him on a very strict regiment during the regular season, resting him for more than 20 games.
And nothing. This is a good thing. The Heat was able to win the title with half a Wade last year. So now, with a perfectly healthy Wade, this is a very, very excellent sign.
13. Oh. OK. Sorry.
14. Well, what else you got? Make me feel better about Miami's chances!
OK, let's see...
15. DO IT. MAKE ME FEEL BETTER, CLOWN!
Chris Bosh! Remember how bogged down and crappy he looked for most of the Eastern Conference Finals?
Well, he's no longer tethered to that bad matchup. And while the Spurs offer a different challenge, Bosh is being quietly overlooked heading into this series. Remember, he played great defense against the Spurs last year and will be free to hit his jumpers. More important, Bosh has developed his three-point shooting prowess. And if he can start draining those at a regular clip, that's just going to open things up for LeBron to decimate the rim with his awesomeness.
17. OK. The Big Three should produce. But who else? Who is going to be this year's Mike Miller?
No, there's no Mike Miller. And, yes, we could definitely use him. But we have at least three guys who can meld into a sort of Mike Miller Voltron in Rashard Lewis, James Jones, and Shane Battier. And of those three has the potential to hit threes, and all three play above-average defense. Also, there's a guy named Ray Allen. Maybe you've heard of him?
18. Hmmm. Yeah... Ray Allen. He's awesome.
19. So what scares you the most about the Spurs?
I'd say Kawhi Leonard and his giant-ass hands.
20. Oh. Yeah. That guy.
He really seemed to bother LeBron at times last year -- although not for long. Still, he's one of many Spurs who are guaranteed to get on our nerves throughout these Finals. Leonard, Green, Manu, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli,
21. OK. Jesus. Stop. You're freaking me out again!
22. I mean, what's the point of even playing this series if the Spurs are so magnificently indestructible?
Well, besides what I said about Wade being healthy and Bosh having a big series and our role players having the potential to come up big?
23. Well. Yeah. Shit. My ass is all clenchy again!
24. GO ON...
LeBron is simply the best player in the world. He's the strongest, most efficient, most intelligent player out there. He's deep in his prime, and he's giving the Spurs their own ass-clench.
25. Yes, yes... More... Tell me more...
Remember how last year the Spurs came in saying they were going to basically make LeBron beat them with jumpers?
Well, that plan seemed to work at first. But as the series went on, LeBron started LeBroning all over the Spurs. And suddenly, that plan blew up in the Spurs' faces. He got progressively more devastating as each game came and went. The Spurs aren't dumb. They know LeBron does most of his damage near the rim. But he's got an insanely efficient jump shot that has broken the backs of giants and obliterated city blocks.
Everything the Spurs are designing to do revolves around LeBron. And that includes him being a master distributor and floor general.
For every Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard San Antonio throws at us, Miami counters with one LeBron James -- a supernova athlete who compensates for his team's greatest weaknesses with a complete, all-encompassing game.
Simply put: Miami has the best player in the universe on its side, a healthy Wade, and a Chris Bosh waiting to finally have his Finals moment. So, chillax.
27. So does this mean Heat in four then? BECAUSE I'M READY TO DECLARE THIS SHIT OVER! YOU GOT ME SO PUMPED NOW!
Well, no. I mean...
28. HEAT IN FOUR! FUCK YEAH! LET'S DO THIS!
That's not what I'm saying...
29. Oh? What then? What's your prediction?
30. TELL ME!
31. OUT WITH IT!
Heat in four!
32. FUCK YEAH!
Heat in six.
33. I HEARD THAT!
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