Miami Heat advance to third straight NBA Finals appearance


“Too old, too worn down, not enough talent.” Those phrases have been used to describe the San Antonio Spurs, and every year they’re dead wrong. The Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games to win the Western Conference and the ageless wonders of Tim Duncan, 37, Tony Parker, 31 and Manu Ginobili, 35, to disprove all the critics. Together, they have won three  NBA titles (2003, 2005 and 2007) and have not been eliminated in the first round since 2011. In fact, San Antonio has made it to the Western Conference Finals five out of the last ten years. There isn’t much that the Spurs do that stands out to people, because they do it every year. They prove that age is but a number in the NBA.

The team that everyone is talking and obsessing about is the Miami Heat out of the Eastern Conference. Led by superstar, legend, icon, whatever you want to call him, Lebron James has seemingly carried his team to the Finals. He won his fourth Most Valuable Player in the last five years (with the exception of Derrick Rose in 2011) and is averaging 26.2 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game and 6.4 assists per game. Miami has lost at home only twice in this year’s playoffs; too bad the fans didn’t show up to see their dominance. It’s not just the James’ show though. He is aided by veteran Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, both of whom started in the All Star game this year.

This year’s finals matchup will be one to watch even for the casual fan. The NBA is driven by superstars and that’s exactly what this series will be. Miami and San Antonio haven’t played each other with all of their star players on the court since 2011. In their first matchup, the Spurs won handily 125-95 in San Antonio. When the game was played in Miami, the results were different with the Heat winning 110-80. No one really knows how the series will play out because teams from two years ago can’t be compared to present ones. Too much change causes any preview to be flawed.

Another reason why one should watch the Finals is the legacy that will be defined for Lebron James and Tim Duncan. James has a chance to win back-to-back titles while Duncan is nearing the end of his career with four championships under his belt so far. Despite that, adding a fifth for Duncan will increase his chance of being looked at as the greatest power forward of all time. James is making people wonder if he can be better than Michael Jordan and could potentially be the best power forward of all time, if not the greatest of all time. James has more pressure to win than any other player on the floor.  He has received criticism ever since going to Miami and is blamed for the team losing even when it’s not his fault. James’ legacy is at stake in this series and if he wins he’ll be looked as a legend, and if he loses, he’ll be viewed as a choker. Lebron has even more motivation in the Finals to go along with the critics. Back in 2007, when James was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his team was swept in four games by the Spurs. He now has a chance to extract his revenge.

Basketball fan or not, this year’s Finals matchup could be one for the ages. San Antonio’s dynasty is coming to a close. Miami’s is just starting. Old vs. new. Throwback vs. ally oop galore. Spurs vs. Heat. The hunt for the Larry O’Brien trophy begins tomorrow night in Miami at 6 p.m.