MIAMI: The Miami Heat will have playoff history on their side as they seek to rebound from a opening-game loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) game two of the NBA Finals.
Despite leading for much of the game and taking a three-point advantage into the fourth quarter, the Heat lost 92-88 to the Spurs on Thursday (Friday in Manila) in the opener of the best-of-seven championship series.
The last time Miami dropped game one before coming back to win the series was last month against the Chicago Bulls in the second round of the playoffs.
Miami also lost the opener of the NBA Finals last season to Oklahoma City then went on to win the next four games to take the series in five.
In the 2006 finals, the Heat lost game one to the Dallas Mavericks before winning the series four games to two.
“It’s going to take a game, maybe two, to get the rhythm of things,” James said during Saturday’s practice, recounting Miami’s playoff path to the finals.
“The Milwaukee series was different from the Chicago series. The Chicago series was different from the Indiana series. And now this Spurs team is going to be different from all three of those teams.
“And each round gets harder and harder. So it takes a couple of games, more preparation in the films and in the books, to get to a point where you are comfortable with everything that’s going on out on the floor and the ways you can exploit those challenges.”
The Heat and Spurs have been two of the league’s most successful franchises over the past decade but this is the first time they have met in the NBA Finals.
After earning his first championship ring last year, James is looking to add to his collection. He led the Heat to a league-best 66-16 record, including a 27-game winning streak, the second longest of all-time.
Miami is in the finals for the third consecutive season, having lost to Dallas two seasons ago.
“It’s going to be a tough test for us,” James said. “But I think we’ve had some tough tests in our three years.”
“Dallas beat us and they were very tough. They were very smart. They were a veteran ballclub.”
“Oklahoma City gave us a scare a little bit in game one of last year’s finals. But we were able to figure that out. So we’ve had some pretty good tests and we’ve been able to overcome.”