Notes: LeBron James defends Heat’s 2013 title
SAN ANTONIO — While both teams are attempting to focus on Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs spent Wednesday discussing last year’s epic series and exactly who was responsible for the conclusion.
Did San Antonio blow the series with its Game 6 collapse capped by Ray Allen’s tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation?
Or did the Heat prevail in seven games because they were the better team?
For the past 12 months LeBron James has heard about the Spurs wasting a chance at a fifth title with their meltdown. And the four-time MVP perceives that as a slight.
“Absolutely. I can’t sit here and lie to you, we do,” James said before Miami’s practice at AT&T Center. “We feel slighted in the fact that the game . . . it went seven. It wasn’t like it was 3-0 and, you know, they had us in Game 4 and we took it and won four straight.
“If you look at the numbers, the lead changes, the ties, and the points in that series, it’s almost even.
“I don’t know the numbers exactly but I know they’re very, very, very close from the lead changes to the ties and to the points.
“So we did our part, they did their part. Both teams put themselves in a position to win an NBA championship, and we just happened to make one or two more plays to win it.
“But at the end of the day it doesn’t take away that we did win last year, but that’s last year. Last year is last year and we’re excited about it, but this trophy this year belongs to nobody. It’s up for grabs.”
Parker has concerns
Spurs point guard Tony Parker missed the second half of San Antonio’s clinching Game 6 win over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals with a sore left ankle.
While coach Gregg Popovich said the ankle won’t be a concern in this series, Parker said he is a little worried about the pounding.
“A little bit, because you never know how it’s going to feel,” he said. “But I’m trying to be very positive, trying to do everything I can, eat healthy, get my rest, do all the treatment. I just trust my body, I’ve been playing for four years nonstop, since 2010, no vacation, made three conference finals, made two finals with the national team, so we always go all the way.
“But I’m very proud, my body, and, yes, I had little stuff, wear and tear, but I’m still here and I trust my body to hold up for the whole series.”
Duncan defends himself
Tim Duncan is not one for braggadocio, but his statement immediately following Game 6 against the Thunder has drawn attention.
Duncan said, “We’ll do it this time,” in regard to beating the Heat in a rematch following last year’s painful seven-game loss in the Finals. Duncan addressed that statement Wednesday.
“I don’t know what I said that was so bad,” Duncan said. “Everybody keeps talking about it. I said I wanted to win the Finals. We’re back here now and I wanted to win. If they need to find fuel in that, so be it.
“I don’t know what [James] was talking about, but if he needs to find fuel in that, so be it. I don’t have a problem with them individually or as a team. I respect what they’ve done. Unfortunately for them, we’re here to try to win.”