The Heat and the Spurs have mutual respect for each other. That much is clear.
There is no “We don’t like them, they don’t like us” storyline like there was against the Indiana Pacers, no matter what LeBron James says.
Miami Heat centre Chris Bosh had some kind words to say about his Finals counterpart, saying “We feel that they’re better [than last year] and we’re going to have to play a solid, solid series to have a chance”.
If Bosh spoke any fonder of the Spurs you could be forgiven for thinking he was a San Antonio Spurs fan watching the Finals on television at home instead of an opponent.
Chris Bosh is being honest and it’s a trait he has shown consistently, revealing his feelings even if he attracts inquisitive glances. It’s the reason why San Antonio beat writer Dan McCarney calls him an A+ interview.
Bosh also called Tim Duncan a “master of the low post” – something he knows only too well having struggled to contain him during last year’s Finals series.
Are they really better? You’re going to get what you always get from the Spurs big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. They have a better record and they have an improved Kawhi Leonard who is on an upward trajectory at 22 years old. He’s only going to get better as he gains experience and becomes more accustomed to Gregg Popovich’s system.
There’s also Danny Green - Popovich says he has increased in confidence these last few years. Marco Belinelli is an upgrade from Gary Neal and relative newbies to the league Jeff Ayres and Aron Baynes have handled themselves well enough.
If the spurs really are better than last year and they were only a rebound away from winning it all in Game 6, what does that say about the Heat’s chances this time?
It means this series is going to be about how much better the Heat are compared to last year.