Tonight’s match includes two fanbases who were bored during last year’s qualifiers as the Heat and the Lakers were home, with Miami finishing at 39-43 while Los Angeles finished 37-45. It is the first time that two teams have met in the finals that did not qualify for the after-season of the previous year.
This series also features two franchises that have a lot in common. Hit boss Pat Riley will face the team that once coached him to four titles. LeBron James is contested against the franchise that helped him win two titles, two MVPs, and two MVPs in the Finals. Heat coach Eric Spoelstra is returning to the finals for the fifth time as he faces James, his best player ever.
Hit, ranked fifth in the East, now joins ’95 Rockets (No. 6) and’99 Knicks (No. 8) as the only two teams ranked fifth or lower to reach the finals since the qualifiers expanded to 16 teams. Like Hit, the Knicks managed this in a short season as this was the year the lockdown happened with a regular season that only lasted 50 games.
The Lakers will play in the NBA Finals No. 32 (record 16-15), the most in league history. It is their first appearance in the Finals since Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles to the title in 2010.
LeBron James will play in the 10th NBA Finals, which is Over 27 NBA franchises. The confrontation between James and Jimmy Butler of Miami will be the 34th time the two have faced each other and the head-to-head record is stumbled 17-17.
Hit striker Andre Iguodala will play in their sixth consecutive NBA Finals, while Lakers striker Queen Cook will appear for a third consecutive time.
Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel and Eric Spoelstra from Miami have coached each other 50 times. Spoilstra leads 26-24.
Between James, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard and Danny Green, the Lakers roster features a foursome in which at least one of them has played in every Finals since 2008.
Black’s assistant coaches will feature in the finals, with the Lakers featuring Jason Kidd, Lionel Hollins and Phil Handy, while the Hit team will have Malik Allen. Four is the same number of black coaches in the league since Doc Rivers split from the Los Angeles Clippers. For now, only Lloyd Pearce (Hawks), JP Pickerstaff (The Cavaliers), Dane Casey (The Pistons) and Monty Williams (Suns) are left. In 2012, there were as many as 14 black coaches in the league.