Two-time defending champions the Heat claimed last year’s series 4-3, including winning game six in overtime to stay alive despite trailing by five points with 28 seconds remaining in regulation.
Spurs hold home-court advantage for the best-of-seven series, which opens with back-to-back games at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio, four-time championship winners, have never lost an opening game of an NBA Finals.
But they may be without star point guard Tony Parker, who injured his ankle in the game six victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
Parker has led Spurs for points in the play-offs with 17.2 per game, just ahead of Tim Duncan (16.5), Manu Ginobili (14.3) and Kawhi Leonard (13.3).
Unlike the even San Antonio, the Heat are more reliant on individuals, particularly arguably the league’s best player in LeBron James.
James has averaged 27.1 points in 15 play-off games this season, second only to NBA MVP Kevin Durant (29.6).
Dwyane Wade (18.7) and Chris Bosh (15.2), the other members of the Heat’s ‘Big Three’, have also been good contributors.
Just what failing to win the NBA Finals would do to the Heat’s legacy has been questioned, but James said he was unfazed by such talk.
“I live in the moment,” James said.
“It’s almost the same with my individual accomplishments. I never really understand them. The only time I’ll be able to appreciate it is when I’m done playing the game.
“I’m in the moment. I don’t even think about it.”
Spurs have won eight straight home play-off games and need to maintain home-court advantage early in the series.
In what should be an entertaining series, there are several potential Hall of Famers in the two teams in James, Wade, Bosh and Ray Allen ” who hit a memorable three-pointer in game six last season ” for the Heat and Parker, Duncan and Ginobili for Spurs, as well as coaches Erik Spoelstra and Gregg Popovich.
The teams are hard to split and the opening two games at AT&T Center will be a key.
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