Heat Host Spurs in Finals Rematch


Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals. Seven months have gone by and yet it seems like just yesterday.

The Miami Heat (31-12) host the San Antonio Spurs (33-10) on Sunday, a rematch of last season’s NBA Finalists. The Spurs will reopen wounds that might never fully-heal as they take the court at 1 P.M.

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich has already said that the demoralizing return to the site where last season ended would be difficult. While many had expected the Spurs to struggle this season, they appear as strong as ever and are very much a title contender. Kawhi Leonard, the emerging star that posed such problems for Miami in the Finals, is out 3-4 weeks with a fractured hand. The sharp-shooting Danny Green and lane-clogger Tiago Splitter are also out nursing injuries. But the Spurs will continue to play hard with Popovich at the helm and their version of the “Big 3” (Tim Duncan, Tony  Parker and Manu Ginobili) on the court.

The telecast of this game begins at 1 P.M. on ABC from the American Airlines Arena. Check back with AllUCanHeat for a recap after the game.

The Big Three Questions for the Game:

Will Wade be Playing?

Probably. After practicing on Saturday, it seems that Wade will be in the lineup against the Spurs on Sunday. Wade has missed four games in a row and has not played in almost two weeks. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has questioned if this extended absence is a setback, but Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra has been clear in explaining this is all part of the healing process. If Dwyane plays, he’ll be refreshed but, after such a long time off, expect early rust before he reminds the Spurs of his strong play in the Finals.

Do the Spurs Need to Make a Change?

No. Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter are all out against Miami. Missing three starters could be a blow to lesser teams, especially in the Western Conference where the race for the top playoff seeding is so tight. For now, San Antonio’s biggest move is to call up Othyus Jeffers from the NBA Developmental League. Some might think a trade is in the works but I expect the Spurs to stay pat and ride out the worst of this injury storm.

Is Greg Oden Ready to be a Full-Time Part of the Rotation?

Not yet, but that day is fast approaching. After seeing increased minutes over the last few games, Oden’s season peaked on Thursday in what has been labeled a “breakthrough” performance. His numbers have been encouraging and his on-court speed has improved. As he continues to get more playing time – and avoid injury – he could become one of the first one or two players off the bench.