News

Heat, Spurs ready to rumble in finals opener

Heat, Spurs ready to rumble in finals opener

NBA FINALS:Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) talks with Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) before practice before game one of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonia Spurs at the AT&T Center. Photo: Reuters

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) – Now that the verbal sparring is over, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are ready to get down to business on Thursday with the opening game of the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

San Antonio power forward Tim Duncan has all-but guaranteed a victory after the team suffered a heartbreaking, seven-game loss to Miami in the finals a year ago.

Heat forward LeBron James knows San Antonio is inspired but doesn’t believe that matters much once the game begins.

“They are motivated,” James, the finals MVP the last two seasons, told reporters on Wednesday. “I think motivation can only go so far. How much motivation can carry you to a championship, I’m not sure.

“At the end of the day, five, ten guys on the floor, three refs and one basketball. You gotta make plays. I can’t shoot the ball and say motivation will make it in.

“I can’t sit in the lane and take a charge and say, ‘Motivation, let me get this call.’”

Needing just one win for title, the Spurs squandered a five-point lead in the final 28 seconds of regulation in Game Six a year ago and lost 103-100 in overtime. The Heat won Game Seven 95-88, leaving the Spurs deflated, angry and wondering what might have been.

James knows the feeling, having lost in the finals to the Dallas Mavericks three years ago. But, he added, there’s nothing more you can do than try your hardest.

“Motivation, yes, can carry you to some things, I agree, because I had it a lot after we lost in 2011 to the Mavericks, but at the end of the day you have to play the game of basketball and do it the right way,” he said.

“Hopefully, you can sit back and say, ‘Well, I did everything it took to win. Win, lose or draw I’m satisfied with it.’”

Duncan tempered his earlier we’re-going-to-win-it remarks on Wednesday, saying, “I don’t know if we’re going in with a chip on our shoulder.

“We’re going in this trying to win a championship,” said the 38-year-old, 14-time All-Star. “We understand what happened last year, we understand how close we got and we’re disappointed in that respect but we’re ecstatic that we have an opportunity to challenge that.

“Series starts over again and we’ll see what happens.”

The first two games of the series are in San Antonio and the next two are in Miami. The Spurs have the home-court advantage, unlike last year’s series.

Miami is shooting for its third straight championship, having beaten Oklahoma City in 2012 for the title.

“We have worked hard in training camp and all season to get ourselves back to this point,” said San Antonio small forward Danny Green. “And we have been lucky enough to fight through a lot of adversity throughout the season and to get some playoff wins and get back to this point.

“We have tried to get better, be the last team standing. We have to be the best, do all the little things perfect. We want to continue to do that. At this point we’re almost there.

“We know we’re playing the two‑time defending champs and the best team in the league right now. It’s not going to be easy. We got to earn it.”

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Star sprinter Torrin Lawrence dies at 25

Fresh
FILE - In this June 20, 2013 file photo, Torrin Lawrence reacts after his heat in the senior men's 400-meter dash at the U.S. Championships athletics meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Former University of Georgia 400-meter runner Torrin Lawrence died in a car accident early Monday, July 28, 2014 in Cordele, Ga. He was 25.

Celebrated track star Torrin Lawrence has been killed in a tragic road accident in Georgia.

in Sports

Judge gives go-ahead for $2 billion sale of NBA’s Clippers

With her attorney Pierce O'Donnell, right, Shelly Sterling, center, talks to reporters after a judge ruled in her favor and against her estranged husband, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, in his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the NBA basketball team, outside Los Angeles Superior Court, Monday, July 28, 2014.

Shelly Sterling can proceed with the record $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers despite her husband's objections, a judge ruled on Monday.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: How to cool a drink in two minutes

Cold Drinks

Never drink a lukewarm beverage again! Check out this helpful summer trick.

in Sports

Only arguing remains in Sterling trail

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2010, file photo, Shelly Sterling sits with her husband, Donald Sterling, right, during the Los Angeles Clippers' NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. With a $2 billion sale of the Clippers hanging in the balance, a judge is set to determine Monday, June 30, 2014, if the terms of a family trust alone are enough to confirm Donald Sterling was properly removed as trustee and allow his estranged wife to sell the team without his consent.

Only final arguments and a ruling remain in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.

in Sports

Paul McGinley pulls out of PGA Championship with injury

Paul McGinley of Ireland laughs during a news conference after being named the European Ryder Cup captain at the St. REgis in Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi on January 15, 2013.

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has pulled out of the PGA Championship with a shoulder injury.