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 today’s 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 Friday (Phil. time) 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 yesterday’s practice, recounting Miami's playoff path to the finals.
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."
Miami is seeking a dynasty and James is already staking claim to the title of one of the best players in league history.
James has already won four NBA Most Valuable Player awards, including the last two, and is a much better player than he was the last time he faced the Spurs in the finals in 2007, when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Heat players have rallied around embattled teammate Chris Bosh, who has struggled in this post-season.
Bosh, who was averaging 12.3 points per game in the playoffs coming into the finals, had 13 points and just five rebounds in game one.
"We just want Chris to mix it up," said Heat guard Dwyane Wade. "Chris is one of the best shooters -- especially big man shooters -- in this game."
Bosh said he can't wait to get back on the floor for game two and redeem himself.
"They took every opportunity of every mistake that we made and they made us pay. To know that we shot ourselves in the foot, it hurts," Bosh said.
"Maybe when we look back on this, we will say losing game one was the best thing that happened to us."*AFP
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