The Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs get ready to reprise their riveting seven-game NBA Finals of a year ago.
Welcome to Fairfax Media's coverage of the 2014 NBA Finals. Most of you are well aware who is playing, but for those who aren't, today is game one of the repeat of last year's finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.
The Heat won last year's series in seven games, after the Spurs had appeared to have the title in the bag inside the final minute of game six.
We are just minutes away from tip-off in San Antonio.
That gives us some time to take a quick look at some talking points heading into the series.
Also don't forget that during the series, tweet us your thoughts (@hoops_heaven) or add a comment to the blog.
Last November, when the season started, most pundits expected Miami to reach the finals again, but not so many thought the Spurs could get back. Too old, too slow. That sort of stuff. Boy have they proved people wrong.
So much so that they head into the finals as slight favourites. The national anthem is being sung right now. The action isn't far away.
Here are some of the more interesting discussion points heading into game one:
Will Tony Parker's ankle allow him to play at his peak?
Can the Spurs keep LeBron James out of the paint?
Will the Spurs bench maintain their domination of opposition second units?
Can Tim Duncan add a fifth NBA title?
All this, and much more, will be revealed over the next two weeks.
''Every game is a game seven.'' That was the final message from LeBron James to team-mates before they stepped onto the court.
Miami are playing in their fourth straight NBA Finals series.
As they did during the latter stages of the Eastern Conference Finals against Indiana, the Heat are starting with Rashard Lewis. Chris Bosh has opened the scoring with a mid-range jump shot.
This start has been frantic. Miami lead 7-6, with both teams taking quick shots. Tony Parker just drove into the paint with ease and converted a nice lay up. MIA 7-6
Got this feeling Duncan is going to turn it on like it's 1999. How bad he must want it! #NBAFinals
— Roy Ward (@rpjward) June 6, 2014
With the first timeout being taken, Miami hold a 11-10 lead. This match is still in the feeling out process. MIA 11-10
Manu Ginobili has entered the game for the Spurs. He starts with a beatiful feed to Duncan who finishes. He then splashes three. By his own admission, Ginobli was poor in last year's finals. That lead to many asking is his stellar career was winding to a close. No-one is asking those questions this year. He looks a new man. SAS 18-13
This tweet sums up Ginobli's attitude, and his start to the game, pretty well.
So does this one from James Dampney
As Ray Allen, Birdman Anderson and Norris Cole enter the game for the Heat, Dwyane Wade is enjoying a good start. He has six points and, most importantly, he looks fit. Australian Patty Mills has entered the game for the Spurs. MIA 19-18
Manu Ginobili is on fire. (NBA Jam voice). The Argentinian has hit his third three of the opening term. Move over Lionel Messi. Manu is the man. SAS 21-19null
This is unbelievably good basketball.
— Phil Lutton (@phillutton78) June 6, 2014
Anyone who has any doubts over LeBron James' legacy (you are out there somewhere) should ready this.
4,000+ Pts, 1,000+ Rebs, 1,000+ Asts in Playoffs history: > Michael Jordan > Kobe Bryant > LEBRON JAMES — Doctor NBA (@DoctorNBA) June 6, 2014
With the Spurs now leading 36-30, Tim Duncan is called for a foul on Ray Allen. Allen has already hit a couple of threes. The Spurs need to watching him. SAS 36-33
Chris Bosh hits a three from the corner. Man he is a tough cover for the Spurs (and everyone else). His ability to hit the corner three sucks the opposition bigs away from the basket. The result of that: plenty of room for James and Wade to take the ball to the rim. Spurs call time-out after a D-Wade basket. 38-36
LeBron James will be happy he's seen the back of Lance Stephenson for this season ...
Wade has 12 points in 13 minutes to start the game. His ability to take opposition guards into the post and spin his way around them is the stuff of legend.
Best I've seen Wade play in yrs. He's taking advantage of the mismatch and forcing Manu to play him. Interested to see how Pop will adjust. — Adam Stanco (@NaismithLives) June 6, 2014
Tony Parker give the Spurs the lead with a beautiful tear-drop shot. His operated differently to Wade, but both men are masters of getting into the paint and finishing in traffic. In other news, Boris Diaw is a beatiful passer of the ball. No wonder the Spurs having him. His dish to Duncan just then was a thing of beauty. Heat take a time-out.
— Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) June 6, 2014
Fairfax basketball writer Roy Ward just summed up the first quarter action very well.
The Spurs have their second unit on the court. These guys (Diaw, Ginobili, Mills and co) have been awesome this year. Mills just scored again. He now has five points. SAS 29-28
Well worth a read
This is the Finals, we want what they have ... We can't turn it over.... thing can be lazy. They're gonna pick it up, let's be ready for them.''
- Words from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in a recnet huddle.
Patty Mills hits a three pointer. Manu Ginobili set him up with a great pass. Mills has made great strides this season. At quarter-time we will post a link to Michael Chammas' story about him in today's paper. In other news, that's the end of the first quarter. Spurs lead 26-20 with Manu Ginobili leading the way. SAS 26-20nullnull