A capsule look at the NBA finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers, which begins Thursday night:
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (58-24, 12-4) vs. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (50-32, 12-4)
Starters: Spurs - C Fabricio Oberto (5.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg), F Tim Duncan (23.2 ppg, 11.4 rpg), F Bruce Bowen (6.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg), G Michael Finley (13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg), G Tony Parker (19.8 ppg, 6.4 apg). Cavaliers - C Zydrunas Ilgauskas (13.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg), F Drew Gooden (11.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg), F LeBron James (25.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 8.3 apg), G Sasha Pavlovic (9.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg), G Larry Hughes (12.6 ppg, 2.6 apg).
Key Reserves: Spurs - G Manu Ginobili (16.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg), F Robert Horry (4.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg), G Brent Barry (3.1 ppg), G Jacque Vaughn (2.2 ppg), C Francisco Elson (3.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg). Cavaliers - G Daniel Gibson (7.6 ppg, F Anderson Varejao (5.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), F Donyell Marshall (3.5 ppg), G Eric Snow (1.8 ppg), G Damon Jones (1.1 ppg).
Season Series: Cavaliers, 2-0, limiting the Spurs to 79.5 points per game and giving them three straight wins in the series. James scored 35 points in the Cavs' 88-81 victory on Nov. 3, Cleveland's first win in San Antonio since 1988. Parker averaged 23.5 points on 56 percent shooting and Duncan added 21.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, but they got little help. Ginobili was only 1-of-8 from the floor in Cleveland's 82-78 victory on Jan. 2, and the Spurs shot only 40 percent in the two games. Hughes scored 18 points in each game.
Storyline: In his fourth season, James has the Cavaliers playing for their first title, and the first by any Cleveland pro sports franchise since 1964. But they have to go through perhaps one of the NBA's most respected franchises, as the Spurs are trying for their fourth ring since 1999.
Key matchup I: Bowen vs. James. Bowen is one of the NBA's top perimeter defensive players, and there's a lengthy list of offensive stars he has frustrated with his variety of tactics. But James is so strong that he should be able to handle whatever Bowen tries against him. And he is much more than a scorer, so even if Bowen takes that away, James can hurt the Spurs in other ways.
nt shooting he managed against the Cavs this season.
X-factor: 3-point shooting off the bench. Both teams are among the NBA's best defensive clubs, and the best way to soften them up is by knocking down some perimeter shots. Barry and Horry, who has made a career out of doing that in the clutch, will be called upon for the Spurs. Cleveland has Gibson, Marshall and Jones for that role.
Prediction: Spurs in six.

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