Archive for June 5th, 2014

Tim Duncan made his first appearance in the NBA Finals in the 1998-99 season and is making is his sixth appearance in the championship round in the 2013-14 season, marking the second-longest span between Finals appearances in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the 1971 Finals with the Milwaukee Bucks and the 1988 Finals with the Los Angeles Lakers. Robert Parish won a title with the Boston Celtics in 1981, and was on the roster of the 1997 Chicago Bulls, but didn’t play in the 1997 Finals.

San Antonio is making its sixth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history, which is the eighth most in NBA history. The Spurs have amassed a 19-10 record (.655) in the Finals, the second-best winning percentage in NBA Finals history. Additionally, the Spurs are 11-3 (.786) at home in the NBA Finals and 8-7 (.533) on the road.

The Spurs have won seven consecutive home games by 15+ points, marking the longest such streak in NBA postseason history. The record was previously set by the 1985 Los Angeles Lakers when they recorded six straight such games. San Antonio owns a +17.4 point differential average in 10 home games this postseason, the most among playoff teams.

Miami has scored more points off turnovers than its opponent in 13 of its 15 games this postseason and has forced opponents into double-figure turnovers in all 15 games as the opposition has averaged 13.7 turnovers (206 total) over that span during the playoffs.

LeBron James is one assist shy of his 1,000th career postseason assist, and would become just the third player in NBA postseason history to total at least 4,000 points (4,278), 1,000 rebounds (1,293) and 1,000 assists (999), joining Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The Heat and Spurs have a combined seven NBA Finals MVP awards (LeBron James - 2012, 2013; Tony Parker - 2007; Dwyane Wade - 2006; Tim Duncan - 1999, 2003, 2005).

Eight players on Finals rosters boast NBA D-League experience: San Antonio’s Aron Baynes, Austin Daye, Damion James, Patty Mills, Danny Green and Cory Joseph; and Miami’s Chris Andersen and Justin Hamilton.

– Via NBA News

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that for the first time, 76 Sixers Draft parties will take place the day of the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 26. Fans throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware can gather at 76 locations to watch the Draft, win tickets, prizes and other giveaways, and mingle with local Sixers fans.

For the first time since 1984, the Sixers will have two top-10 draft picks at Nos. 3 and 10, along with five second-round picks (Nos. 32, 39, 47, 52 and 54 overall).

“We will have an unprecedented 76 Sixers Draft parties to match the size and scope of what this night means to our organization, and especially to our fans,” said Sixers Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer Tim McDermott. “We look forward to seeing our future unfold on June 26 as we gather together to watch and celebrate the Draft.”

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune with some Timberwolves news:

Flip Saunders will become new coach of Timberwolves

Flip Saunders will be the next Timberwolves coach and will be introduced Friday in a news conference.

He confirmed in a text message this morning that he will coach the team but declined further comment until tomorrow.

As far as I know, there is no specified length of time that he’ll coach, although he has suggested before it would only be for a season or two if he did decide to coach.

When it’s all sorted out, Flip’s staff is expected to include former Wolves players Sam Mitchell and Sidney Lowe, although I’m not certain yet if either is a coach-in-waiting to take the job next.

Some top 2014 NBA Finals storylines

RETURN TRIP: A Finals rematch is a rare treat. This will be the first time since 1997 and 1998 two teams will square off in consecutive years. Further adding to the anticipation, it’s the first time in 25 years that two teams played a seven-game Finals and repeated as conference champions the following season.

SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE: Six Finals appearances in 16 seasons and 15 consecutive 50+ win seasons have established the Spurs as the NBA’s model for long-term success. Is this the team’s last run for a championship? When you’re the Spurs, the answer to that question can never be yes.

COACHING UP: Only four coaches in the history of the NBA (Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and John Kundla) have won five or more titles. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich hopes to join this elite club in 2014. On the other sideline, Erik Spoelstra is aiming to become only the fourth coach (Auerbach, Kundla and Jackson) in NBA history to win three straight Finals.

DOING IT WITH DEPTH: The Spurs’ depth has been one of the largest reasons for their return to The Finals. San Antonio is the first team since the NBA/ABA merger (1976) to not have a single player average 30 minutes. The Spurs had nine players average at least 8.0 points this season — the first team to hold that distinction and make The Finals since the 1965-66 Celtics. San Antonio’s reserves finished the regular season with the highest scoring average in Spurs franchise history and in this season’s playoffs, the reserves have accounted for a league-high 42.2 points per game.

DIFFERENT PATH, SIMILAR RESULTS: The Spurs and Heat were built in different ways, with different types of players. After Tim Duncan, who was the top pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, the next highest Spurs draft pick is Kawhi Leonard (15th overall pick). Their roster boasts five second-rounders and one undrafted player. The Heat, on the other hand, features six top 10 picks on its star-studded roster.

– NBA News

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Heat backup guard Norris Cole:

Young Norris Cole living in NBA Finals with Heat

Norris Cole isn’t ready to assess his place in history, not at 25, not in just his third season in the league.

But he appreciates the uniqueness of his NBA reality, having now made it to the Finals in each of his first three seasons, with championships in each of his first two.

With this best-of-seven series against the San Antonio Spurs, the reserve point guard becomes the first player to appear in the NBA Finals in his first three seasons since Scott Williams did it with the Chicago Bulls from 1991 to 1993.

Beyond being the first player to do that in more than two decades, Cole entered these Finals having appeared in 55 playoff games, the fourth highest total over a player’s first three seasons.

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