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.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail GS favored as schedule released The NBA released the 2016-17 schedule earlier this week. Here is a look at the latest odds to win the NBA Finals.
Thumbnail Dallas brings in ex-Warrior to join icon When Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki opted out of his contract on June 21, it felt like a slight roadblock to an inevitable reunion between both sides. Little...
Thumbnail Tim Duncan retires The San Antonio Spurs lost their franchise player on Monday, as Tim Duncan elected to retire after an amazing 19-year...
Thumbnail Rockets give Harden an extension The Houston Rockets locked up their star player for years to come, announcing an extension with James Harden on...
Thumbnail OKC's title odds plummet without Durant Following the announcement that Kevin Durant will be signing with the Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder's NBA title...
More inNBA Articles  

NBA Team Pages