The basketball gods have truly outdone themselves this year.
Although most fans wanted to see a match up between the two best players on the planet in Kevin Durant and LeBron James, the gods opted to go another route, one riddled with themes of redemption, revenge and closure.
It was only right that the San Antonio Spurs, one year removed from absolute heartbreak at the hands of the Miami Heat, would be in position to redeem themselves from last season’s failure at winning a fifth championship. This rematch also will decide the individual rubber match between two of the top greatest players ever to step on the NBA hardwood, Tim Duncan and James.
While there would have been more fireworks and SportsCenter-worthy plays in a series featuring Durant and LeBron, it would have ultimately been a hollow matchup at the expense of the old guys in black and white.
This may be the Spurs last crack at winning a championship with their Big Three, so it seems only fair that they would have the opportunity to vanquish their painful memories from last year’s Finals and replace them with memories they’ll treasure long after they’re done with basketball.
While most of the faces are the same for both teams, the teams slightly differ from last season.
San Antonio will have home court in the Finals due to their exemplary performance in the regular season in the most competitive Western Conference in recent memory, possibly ever. Spurs role players have matured and gained more experience, but LeBron has another year of dominance under his belt and is ready to establish this Heat team as one of the greatest dynasties the NBA has ever witnessed.
The Spurs have more bumps and bruises than the Heat due to their arduous NBA Finals journey. Dwyane Wade is considerably more healthy this time around.
Although the entire narrative is chock full with compelling story lines, it is now up to both teams to produce their own desired ending. There are some very obvious factors that will play a determining role in who wins this series: “stopping” LeBron (typing that made me laugh), keeping the Spurs from going bonkers from three, etc.
I have narrowed it down five factors that will truly determine who is crowned as the 2013-2014 NBA Champions.