Dislike? Nope, so Heat, Spurs will try to whip up extreme absence of like

VIDEO: Duncan discusses Finals clash with Heat

SAN ANTONIO – With all the yammering about shared respect and mutual dynasties heading into these 2014 Finals, you might expect to find the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, some night this week, strolling hand in hand along the Riverwalk on a moonlit night.

Veteran Miami forward Udonis Haslem made it clear Wednesday, that ain’t happening.

“Just because this series may not be as physical as the Indiana series or may not be as physical as a [past] Chicago series,” Haslem said, “does not mean we like these guys any more.”

An absence of like might not be the same thing as an active dislike, but it’s a reasonable starting point for a potentially long, best-of-seven series that might lend itself to emotions and subplots in ways the 2013 Finals did not. It would take some doing – the Spurs don’t typically seek out headlines, the Heat see no one on San Antonio’s roster who can play the Lance Stephenson knucklehead/pest role.

But if the series is low in vitriol, it still will be high in competition, both sides’ dials cranked hard to the right to take rather than give.

“Sometimes the game is played a little different between the lines,” Haslem said. “Sometimes it’s more physical. Sometimes it’s faster, sometimes it’s slower. Doesn’t change the mindset. We’re in the Finals. We can’t afford to be trying to make new friends right now.”

Again, not making friends isn’t quite the same as butting heads with rivals. Miami has been targeted for four years now, with East opponents such as Chicago, Indiana and Brooklyn eager to topple them and, presumably, everything they stand for. Over time, fueled by hard knocks, strains of resentment and disdain began to show.

Not so with the Spurs, who happen to be catching the Heat in their more-established, less-shortcutting third and fourth postseasons.

“I don’t think it’s animosity,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “Indiana wants what we have – and you could tell, there was animosity on their part. We didn’t give much credence to that, and it wasn’t reciprocal. The Spurs are different. They’ve had serial success over a decade and a half. They want what’s out there and we want what’s out there. It’s not so much they want what we have or we want what they have.”

Last year’s Finals wasn’t exactly gentlemanly, but it didn’t deteriorate into barroom tactics. The Spurs set a Finals record for fewest fouls committed in a seven-game series (118). Correspondingly, the Heat shot the fewest free throws in a seven-game series of any Finals team in history (118). Read that again: LeBron James‘ team shot the fewest free throws in a seven-game series of any Finals team ever .

(The records for the most fouls and free throws? In the 1957 Finals, Boston fouled St. Louis players 221 times, resulting in 341 free throws. Scintillating to watch, no doubt.)

So this one will have to muddle through without bad blood, personal histories or old scores to settle (besides the outcome). Two teams, both driven and fiercely competitive, went at it for seven rounds last June and didn’t even merit a technical foul for defensive-three seconds after Game 4.

“I think that’s why this series was so great last year: It was about basketball,” Battier said. “It wasn’t about talk. it wasn’t about controversy. It was an awesomely officiated series last year – there were no refereeing controversies. There were no technical fouls, no flagrant fouls. It was about basketball.

“How novel for the NBA Finals to be about basketball. I expect the same sort of respect, and it being about the game, as it should be.”

VIDEO: Battier talks Spurs and Finals


  1. billybob says:

    WORLD CUP STARTING NEXT WEEK. awesome! can’t wait.

    I like Basketball. but hate watching those MIAMI whiners.

  2. okcDoke2014 says:

    ALBERTY. all the people on this site are professional athletes with time on our hands ! Except for the Spurs (in 6) and the Heat

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  4. Agudo says:

    Here we are a year later and all you guys are talking about is last years Finals. Forget it, its done and dusted. This is a new finals series, so best of luck to both the teams. But hoping and praying that the Heat can be the 4th team in NBA history to 3peat.

    • billybob says:

      you really pray for this? you think God wants the Heat to win.
      God are you a HEAT fan?…….

      hmmm….no answer yet.

  5. celentano says:

    very simple SA chocked + fatigue with popovich last games 2013!This could be different this year,”could”.

  6. sabotage says:

    Ray Allen didn’t make that shot in Game 6 out of luck. He trained for that kind of situations he has a career record to back it up!. He made 150 shots on every practice so saying that was luck is disrespecting!. If Chris Bosh made that 3 last year then I would say that it is lucky shot.

  7. Erlo says:

    Heat in 5. Lebron is going to 5 peat, once more next year with Miami and then another when he goes to OKC for the 2015/16 season to play with Durant.

  8. kiwisepp says:

    I do not like Heat, so I wish Spur win

  9. Flexy says:

    Forget 3 peat, now new definition will be known as the Heat-peat Baby!

  10. Radek says:

    People seem to forget about Spurs’ Leonard missing a free throw in game 6 to ice the game with 19 seconds left on the clock.
    Which in turn allowed Miami to go for the game-tying three point play…
    Also people seem to forget about Duncan missing TWO (!) point blank shots (lay-up, followed by a tip back) to tie game 7, with 50 seconds remaining…
    Not to mention the adjustment by LeBron James, with SAS clogging up the middle and daring him to shoot from the perimeter, to score 37 points in game 7 …
    Lastly for those who think the Miami Heat stole the Finals last year, the series was tied 3-3, and SAS had every opportunity to win game 7.

    • D.Wright says:

      yes. the series was tied 3-3! Read your own words. Read ’em again. So neither team was superior, yeah? smh …all of these fortune tellers here. lol Lebron was NOT the clutch player in that series either so what’s your point?

      • JBIRD says:

        LMAO! Reread your own comment! You say Lebron was not clutch… Game 7 for all the marbles and Lebron BBQ’d my Spurs for 37/7

      • Radek says:

        If You missed the point, you missed it. Not much can be done about that.

  11. 16oz says:

    I think it’s the media who makes the “hate” thing a big issue. Instead of focusing on the numbers or match up, the media wants to focus on the extra curricular stuff than the basketball itself.. Media nowadays.. smh..

    • D. Wright says:

      yeah. that’s why many of them don’t like it when the spurs are involved because the spurs concentrate on basketball and none of that nonsense which I guess equals boring to some. smh

  12. Heat in 6 or less – Danny Green won’t set an NBA record for threes, Gary Neal (now, Marco Bellinelli) won’t hit buzzer beaters and shoot ridiculous percentage from behind the arc, Bosh now has a three point shot that will spread the floor and give LeBron driving room, and Wade is playing more than 25 mins per game and not telling Spo to “not play him” down the stretch – read more here http://davidmainiero.blogspot.com/2014/06/why-heat-will-beat-spurs-in-6-games-or.html

    • Brad T says:

      LOL Bosh has a 3-pt shot? I suppose everybody has one, but statistically he is not a wise choice for a 3 when you need it. I’d let Bosh shoot 3s all day if I were the Spurs, and if Duncan hoisted up a 3 like Bosh does when the game is on the line and there are other options, Pop would scream at him. I am surprised Spolstra keeps letting Bosh toss those up…

  13. Ruben says:

    Being a spur fan. I Will say this. The heat are the best team in basketball,period.
    The have been and will be for time to come if they stay together (and not just the big three).
    They should win the series. They are the best BOUGHT TEAM in America. But I’ll take the spurs just because I’m an idiot
    And still believe that hard work ,loyalty,team(REAL TEAM) mean something. Don’t forget Seabiscuit,Cinderella Man, and the little train that couldn’t Forget Miracle because it won’t be. GO SPURS Go

    • Kunjaymaster says:

      There’s so much nonsense in that paragraph…how is Miami a bought team? My definition of a bought team is what Brooklyn did putting together players to compete only for a season. All of Miami players arrived in free agency and paid for their inconsistencies with a Championship in that first year. They grew as a team and are a (REAL TEAM) just as the Spurs are or else they wouldn’t be in this position to make history. Only time will tell who the best team is.

    • D.Wright says:

      hey “Miami Heat Fan” 100% silly comment. lol No one from the spurs nor the heat organizations nor the planet can tell the future but you can… duuhh o.O

    • D.Wright says:

      “Ruben” – how can you be a spurs fan? lol If “The heat are the best “TEAM” in basketball, period”, then why are they not the top seed? The spurs had the best record by far, are older, had more injuries, and faced better teams in the playoffs. I doubt very seriously that you are a true spurs fan. Otherwise, you wouldn’t and couldn’t ignore the obvious. Go Spurs Go!

    • Flexy says:

      I didn’t know the Spurs players don’t get paid, I guess they get paid in Steak or ribs. If so you can sign me on too, I like me some Texan ribs!

    • Knuckz says:

      Every team is a bought team. They all play for money. People need to get over the “bought” foolishness. They still have to play. Just because you put a bunch of stars on a team doesn’t guarantee anything. Ask the 2003 Lakers or the 2002 Yankees. Even the Rockets tried with Hakeem, Clyde and Barkley, then later with Hakeem, Pippen and Barkley. Kareem was a Milwaukee Bucks player before he was a Laker. Wade was a Heat and the organization put other pieces in place to win. That’s the goal isn’t it?

  14. El Stone says:

    LeBron is a crybaby and Battier is a dirty flopper.

    • Flexy says:

      wow…well atleast they will be playin a greandparent team that can change their pampers, and wash the “dirt” off the flip flopper

    • Knuckz says:

      And you’re a guy who sits around calling people names. What’s your point?

  15. thespectator says:

    i honestly dont know who will win…either way…who ever wins..deserves it..although i feel if heat lost then it will be more devastating than the spurs…they have more pressure to win..spurs can always blame age or say “hey we have been elite for over a decade” so wont hurt them as much.. they got 4 rings..thats still more than the heat

  16. Miami Heat Fan says:

    100% Sure the MIAMI HEAT will 3PEAT!

    • D. Wright says:

      100% silly comment. lol No one from the spurs nor the heat organizations nor the planet can tell the future but you can… duuhh o.O

  17. nba.com says:

    Lebron: ‘ they don’t like us, we don’t like them’
    …………. so childish …………….

  18. okcDoke2014 says:

    This is Spurs year and the best in the west !

    • Kunjaymaster says:

      This is not the Spurs year, as an OKC fan you should know that San Antonio wouldn’t have won if Ibaka hadn’t been down those first 2 games. Spurs looked pretty exposed by Mavs and OKC they still can’t deal well with speed and that is how Miami plays.

      • dcraig says:

        I get the same feeling. When the Heat get rolling they’re unstoppable. The key from the Spurs will be to not let their train out of the station. The Spurs fourth quarter defense will be most critical.

  19. Spurs(Fans)Not(HeatHater) says:

    I think this will be a good series. Why wont we sit back and enjoy this NBA finals instead of arguing with each other,

  20. Advin says:

    Best team wins, Miami did it twice in row that is something to recognize better team. Heat in 6. Go heat

  21. headache says:

    haslem who? that bench warmer?

  22. D. Wright says:

    great shot by Ray Allen. However, he was VERY lucky to get the opportunity so unless you think that’s exactly how Miami drew it up, then you must admit that it was a VERY fortunate opportunity so I don’t understand how Miami fans can really pretend that the Heat won that game simply because they made it happen. c’mon now. smh Take the well-deserved win, but don’t ignore the facts.

  23. Typical Heat fan says:

    I’m not backing either team this year. The Lakers are going to win it all this year, Kobe will get finals MVP and Larry Bird will hit a game-winner to take the series to 7 games. Michael Jordan will win it all next year for the Celtics.

    • Typical Heat Hater says:

      I dunno man, I heard Larry Bird got injured during the first round against the Bucks.

      • billybob says:

        yeah , yet another reason why LeBron does not even come close to MJ.
        LeBron is a whiner.

  24. HEAT_FAN says:

    This gonna be another epic Finals-serie!

  25. Michael says:

    Agree with Brad about Shane being so well spoken. Shane was definitely blessed with brains and brawn. According to Wikipedia, Battier was a two-time Academic All-American and Academic All-American of the year in 2001. I wonder if he’ll consider a coaching career when he finally hangs up the sneakers?

  26. ohyea says:

    Just love it when all these Spurs fans and Heat haters that root for anyone but Heat say SPURS in 4 or Heat will def. lose. Yea, keep wishing. Love seeing ya’ll disappear when Heat wins.. yea.. just like last year..

    • Chris says:

      Never disappeared when they lost last year. Believed they’d make it back and still believe they can beat the heat. I’m just not crazy enough to believe either of these teams can sweep eachother.

      You’re calling out the bandwagon heat haters, but we spurs fans know the game well enough to know what they’re facing. But also know enough to know the heat aren’t unbeatable basketball Gods. They were one play away from a win last year, ONE play. That was anyone’s series, and it stil is anyone’s series. You clearly haven’t watched a game not played by Miami if you can’t recognize that.

    • Docsteely says:

      I really love it when Heat fans call anybody that’s not a Heat fan a Heat hater. That’s plain stupid: most of us we know our basketball, we just love the game and the show and the fact that we do not root for the Heat does not mean we hate them. Especially when they can put sometimes such terrific shows.
      To sum it up: we respect the Heat; the fact that fans like you and other Heat fans cannot respect other teams says a lot about you.

      • Kunjaymaster says:

        Well most of the people here who don’t like the Heat calls them a bought team, and hate on Lebron so…forgive us for not respecting the one or two of you who do have a brain.

  27. Mleh says:

    Sorry Battier but there were refereeing controversies and all profit to the heat

  28. okcDoke2014 says:

    No 3peat without solid D ! Go Spurs ! Home solid ! Take one on the road !

  29. Kimmy says:

    Yeah Brad! I’m with you on that!

  30. Brad T says:

    Shane Battier is the most well spoken NBA player ever, in my opinion, and always enjoyable to hear what he has to say. That said, his team is going to lose just like they should have last year. They won’t get lucky this time, the Spurs will see to it.

    • Paul says:

      Here’s another SPURS FAN’s. Keep wishing….

      • Chris says:

        hes not a spurs fan, just a heat hater. he was a pacers fan last round and a nets fan the round before. just like every other fan going for the spurs.

    • mikmaks says:

      And I saw all these types of comments last year… A lot of Nostradamus here people.. Brag when you have something to brag.. and not before…

    • Cuban -Miami Connection says:

      Let me remind you , Brad T that you, the SAS , also got a lucky shot from Parker in the first Game …Don’t you remember Brad T?…so , stop saying that we won because that Ray shot only…there were many factors …including the lack of moral after that 6-game , since then , we beat you in the 7’s

    • mee(a)t says:

      Why did the Spurs deserve to win Game 6 when they were outplayed down the stretch. You play for the whole 48 minutes,

      • Kalbo!! says:

        when you’re up by 5 with less than half a minute left, the opposing team is desperate and will take 3s as desperation shots.. they don’t call it desperation for nothing.. taking that small chances rather than nothing.. ended up getting that small chances due to luck.. Miami was indeed the champion that year.. just not very convincingly..

        by the way, game one was no luck.. it’s not like tony hit 2 or 3 go-ahead jumpers. it’s the usual scoring thing, only then it was down the last seconds..it’s not even a desperation shot when your down only 1.. please get your facts straight miami fans.. you’re all such boring to argue with..

      • Mike says:

        Cuban Imbecile Crisis

      • Jason says:

        Everyone stop talking and watch basketball.

      • Chris says:

        Agreed. Being down by 5 with 30 seconds left doesn’t mean the game is over.

      • Kunjaymaster says:

        Spurs choked down the stretch they still had a game 7 and still choked.