James, Heat start title hunt: Miami v San Antonio NBA Finals Live on ABC

MIAMI, FL (Sporting Alert) — Defending champions Miami Heat will be hoping to take advantage of playing the opening game of NBA Finals at home by beat a well rested San Antonio Spurs team at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Coverage: ABC
9:00 PM ET, June 6, 2013
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

LeBron James and the Heat completed a seven game series victory over the Indiana Pacers to earn the right to play in their third successive NBA Finals, and everyone knows what this finals will mean to James.

James, at 22, had a nightmare time when these met in 2007 when he was playing with Cleveland Cavaliers, but Spurs coach Greg Popovich believes he’s all matured now and is definitely a different kind of player.

“Well, LeBron is a different player than he was in `07,” Popovich said. “That was like ancient history.

“He was basically a neophyte at the time, wondering how all this stuff worked and how it’s put together. We were very fortunate at that time to get him so early. But at this point he’s grown.”

Dwyane Wade showed up in Game 7 of the Indiana series and Miami will be hoping that Chris Bosh, who went four straight games below 10 points, can get his act together.

San Antonio will certainly be looking to the All-Star point guard Tony Parker run most of the offense, but Tim Duncan, who should match up nicely with Udonis Haslem and Kawhi Leonard, who will guard James, are expected to be two of the main contributors.

LeBron James starts for Miami v Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota (Sporting Alert) — LeBron James starts for the Miami Heat tonight, despite being doubtful for the contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.

James had been a doubt for the game after picking up a knee problem, but after saying that he would play, head coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed this by naming in the starter team.

James scored 29 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals even with the knee problem in the 99-93 over the New York Knick on Sunday and Spoelstra revealed that he couldn’t take him off even with his discomfort.

“His motor is limitless. I don’t want to take that for granted,” the coach said. “I don’t just want to assume that he can play 40-plus minutes, but he had to do it on both ends.

“Couldn’t get him out in the fourth quarter and if I would have tried, he probably would have strangled me.

The Miami Heat beat Minnesota 103-92 at home when they last met on Dec. 18.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Miami Heat

Miami Heat: Mario Chalmers – G; Dwyane Wade – G; LeBron James – F; Udonis Haslem – F; Chris Bosh – C

Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio – G; Luke Ridnour – G; Mickael Gelabale – F; Derrick Williams – F; Greg Stiemsma – C

Lakers to replace Kobe with LeBron in 2014?

MIAMI, FL (Sporting Alert) — The Los Angeles Lakers are apparently making big plans to bring in a big name when Kobe Bryant decides to retire from the NBA.

And it’s a real superstar they want.

According to media outlets, the Lakers are piling up all their resources to land Miami Heat and NBA superstar LeBron James in the future.

Although the Miami Heat have no intentions of letting go of the man who led them to the NBA title last season, it is believed that a number of teams’ executives have told ESPN.com that they think the Lakers are making the necessary plans to go for James in 2014 when the former Cleveland Cavaliers player becomes a free agent again.

According to a general manager: “It’s not a mistake that all those deals end the same year Kobe’s does. They have probably been planning for their next phase for a while.

“The Busses and [Lakers GM] Mitch [Kupchak] are always thinking about the next big deal.”

James and Miami Heat are current in preseason preparing for the new NBA campaign.

The American star currently averages 13.7 PPG in preseason exhibitions.