For a moment, let’s put aside key players like Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard and just look at the Heat’s and Spurs’ top two players. In the last three years, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker have shared the court for just 45:57.
They could, theoretically, pass that total in Game 1 of the NBA Finals alone.
Due to circumstance, coaching, pettiness, injury, new additions and other reasons, Miami and San Antonio haven’t seen a lot of each other. That will obviously change in the next four to seven games, but recent matchups between these teams don’t give us many clues as to what will happen.
This season, of course, Gregg Popovich sent Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Danny Green home before a November game in Miami. In turn, the Heat rested LeBron, Wade and Mario Chalmers for the March rematch in San Antonio.
Last season, because of the lockout, some Eastern Conference and Western Conference teams played each other only once, including Miami and San Antonio. In their lone meeting, the Heat won by 22 behind 30+ points from LeBron and Bosh, but Wade didn’t play due to a sprained ankle.
During the 2010-11 season – before Leonard was drafted – the teams traded 30-point wins, and the key players sat late in both contests. Such huge margins don’t seem likely in the Finals.
We haven’t seen much of these Spurs and these Heat playing each other (Just look at the picture I had to use for this post.) But the two teams with the best aggregate records in the last three years can duck each other no longer. We’re finally getting the great matchup we’ve longed for.