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Reviewing Heat vs. Spurs

By the time you read this, we will likely be less than 24 hours away from Game One of the NBA Finals.

Frankly, unlike most series, we have no earthly idea how these two teams matchup because, frankly, the coaches did not tip their hands to each other in any way.

This might be an exercise in futility trying to glean anything from the regular season matchups between the Heat and Spurs from the 2013 season. In each game — both won by the Heat — stars sat out and neither team was at full strength.

If there was ever a series where you can definitively say the regular season did not matter, this is it.

November 29: Miami Heat 105, San Antonio Spurs 100

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The Spurs were wrapping up a six-game road trip that had them playing six games in nine days. With a game the previous night in Orlando — a 110-89 blowout — and a five-game win streak at that point, Gregg Popovich opted to rest his star players. Rest is not quite the right word.

Popovich elected not even to be tempted by Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker and sent them to San Antonio on the charter instead of to Miami from Orlando.

This did not sit well with David Stern and the rest of the NBA as the Spurs matchup with the Heat was slated for a TNT national audience and was one of the rare occasions these two teams met. Somehow, I think those Miami fans who were pining to see Parker, Duncan and Ginobili will get to see them Thursday and Sunday night (and on the cover of Sports Illustrated too).

Once the ball tipped off, none of that really seemed to matter.

The Heat got stellar performances from LeBron James (23 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 9/16 FGs) and Ray Allen (20 points off the bench). But the Spurs would not go away. Not until the very end, at least. San Antonio got 20 points from Gary Neal and held a 45-37 rebounding advantage to push the Heat to the brink of defeat.

Alas, Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner cannot execute down the stretch as efficiently as Duncan, Parker and Ginobili or James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

March 31: Miami Heat 88, San Antonio Spurs 86

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With the Heat having pretty much wrapped up the Eastern Conference, Erik Spoelstra decided to repay the favor the Spurs gave him in November. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sat out this Sunday evening meeting at the AT&T Center. Except Spoelstra made it known beforehand this would happen and he did not send the players home. Thus, no fine.

And much like the Spurs, now playing with Parker and Duncan, the Heat showed a lot of heart without their two best players.

Bosh scored 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting and Miami overcame a 13-3 offensive rebound deficit to hold off San Antonio for an 88-86 victory. The Spurs had a balanced effort led by Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard's 17 points. But the Heat were rolling at this point and not even losing their two best players seemed to matter.

It also helps to make 12 of 28 3-pointers to make up for those lost points.

Again, not much to take out of this game either. The Spurs were still able to rebound the ball, but without James and Wade in there it does not seem to mean as much.

Throw it all out the window. The two teams are 0-0 and all that matters is the next two weeks.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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