Tony Parker

Despite the notion they’re old, the Spurs are actually overall the younger, less-experienced team in these finals. Miami has nine players in their 30s to the six on the Spurs, and their Big Three and Bonner are the only Spurs to have played in the NBA Finals.

That makes it easier for the Spurs to enjoy this trip more than when they were the team expected to be here every year.

”We definitely are having fun,” Tony Parker said. ”I think we appreciate every moment. We don’t take anything for granted, because it’s been a long time. It’s been six years. Felt like forever. After the Memphis series, there was a lot of emotion.”

Heat veteran Shane Battier wasn’t exactly sold on the notion of this Spurs transformation into a happy-go-lucky group.

”Don’t believe them, first of all,” he said. ”They are extreme competitors and they have a level of self-deprecation I think that is part of them, but don’t buy it for one second. Those guys are killers. They’re cut-throat and they will stomp on you if need be, and we’re the same way.

”We appreciate the opportunity to play in the finals. Difficult to get here. Hardest thing you’ll do in this game is to try and win a championship, so we appreciate the opportunity and we want to make the most of it,” he said.

Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press