Much of the chatter about the 2013 NBA Finals hasn't been about the way the Miami Heat won the title but the way the San Antonio Spurs lost it.
The missed free throws in the final 28.2 seconds of Game 6. The rebounds that got away. The failed closeout on Ray Allen's corner three-pointer.
Add up all the ways the Spurs gave away a championship and it amounts to a major annoyance to Miami star LeBron James.
"We feel slighted" because the series went seven games, James said Wednesday on the eve of the teams' rematch series, which starts Thursday night at the AT&T Center. "It wasn't like it was 3-0 and, you know, they had us in Game 4 and we took it and won four straight.
"If you look at the numbers, the lead changes, the ties and the points in the series, it's almost even. I don't know the numbers exactly but I know they're very, very, very close from the lead changes to the ties and to the points.
"So we did our part, they did their part. Both teams put themselves in a position to win an NBA championship and we just happened to make one or two more plays to win it."
James said he didn't believe the Spurs' motivation to atone for their collapse would provide an edge in the rematch.
"Motivation can only go so far," James said. "How much motivation can carry you to a championship, I'm not sure. At the end of the day [it's] five, 10 guys on the floor, three refs and one basketball. You gotta make plays. I can't shoot the ball and say, 'Motivation will make it in.' I can't sit in the lane and take a change and say, 'Motivation, let me get this call.'
"Motivation, yes, can carry you to some things, I agree, because I had it a lot after we lost in 2011 to the Mavericks, but at the end of the day you have to play the game of basketball and do it the right way and hopefully, you know, you can sit back and say, 'Well, I did everything it took to win. Win, lose or draw, I'm satisfied with it.' "Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times