Battleground: Miami Heat

By Dimitri Skoumpourdis

May 30, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra (right) shakes hands with guard

Ray Allen

(left) after defeating the Indiana Pacers in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Finals: Game 3 tips off Tuesday, June 10th at 9 PM ET.

After a thrilling run of faulty air conditioning, incapacitating cramps and a pre-game yoga session in which LeBron James‘ mantra was clearly revenge, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are tied at one game a piece as the scene for this NBA Finals grudge match shifts to the powdery white sands of South Beach.

If anything, the first two games have taught us that not much has changed since last June.

Spo on tomorrow night’s NBA Finals Game 3: “We’re thrilled to be at home but it doesn’t guarantee anything.”

— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) June 9, 2014

The crisp ball movement and overachieving San Antonio role players that schooled the Heat in Game 1 fought Miami to the ropes again through the first quarter of Game 2 before the man with the cramps unleashed a rope-a-dope counterattack so vicious that James’ receding hairline appeared to morph into a Muhammad Ali afro as he notched 35 points and 10 rebounds en route to a 98-96 Miami Heat victory.

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James flashed the kind of brilliance that validated why so many believed the Heat could compete with San Antonio despite not having home-court advantage this time around. Players like James can win games on their own, and Miami fans have him to thank for still having a chance at their third consecutive title.

With the loss, the pressure rests squarely on the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs head to King James’ Palace with a focus on recreating the same team basketball that had them earn the top seed in the grueling Western Conference and a mere 28.2 seconds away from being crowned champions in 2013.

The goal is simple—force the series back to the friendly confines of the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

History suggests that nothing can prepare us for the drama and intensity that looms at American Airlines Arena when these two basketball heavyweights take their places for the next act of this epic series.

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