Jun 21 2013 2:23AM

LeBron James was about to head to his press conference when he spotted the man who brought him to Miami in the first place.

Jun 21 2013 2:09AM

Who else but Tony Parker and Tim Duncan to close out the year's final International Play of the Day?

Jun 20 2013 6:04PM
If the Spurs have any lingering weight on their shoulders after their Game 6 loss -- or in their stomachs, after the team dinner afterwards -- they didn't look it at shootaround on Thursday, with the West champs taking care of their business as usual.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player

Tip's at 9 pm ET. Watch history unfold on NBA LEAGUE PASS.
NBA India: A Brief History of NBA Finals Game 7's
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 19 2013 7:38PM
One game to rule them all, writes NBA India's Karan Madhok. One game to fulfill a season -- a career -- of longing. One game that dwarfs everything that came before it. One 48-minute chance to last forever. Game 7's are as exciting as they are rare. And over the past 40 years, they've been nothing short of brilliant.

Check out The Brief History of NBA Finals Game 7's gallery at NBA India.
Beyond League Pass: Thank You, Ray
Andrew D. Bernstein /NBAE/Getty Images
Jun 19 2013 6:41PM

Even though watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

When the Heat started their shootaround on Wednesday afternoon, a group of Heat players that included Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Mike Miller and Rashard Lewis discussed what shooting drills they wanted to do.

Someone suggested shooting free throws. Allen -- a career 89.4 percent free-throw shooter -- didn't want to.

After about one quick rotation through, the group stopped, submitting to Allen's wishes.

"He saved the season. He's the reason we're here," Lewis said to nobody in particular as the team huddled around the paint. "If it wasn't for him, we'd be in the locker room putting all our shoes in a box."

The group laughed, but the message was clear: Thank you, Ray Allen.

Of course, Lewis is referring to the clutch 3-pointer that Ray Allen hit with 5.2 seconds left in regulation in Game 6 to send the game to overtime.

"Of all the people to be open, we were happy it was him," Miller said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Allen talked about the now legendary shot.

Jun 19 2013 6:27PM

Game 7 -- and everything that means -- looms just a day away. Check out the final International Blogtable of the 2012-13 season, as our writers from around the globe look to make sense of of what's to come.

What's Ahead in Game 7?
The top two teams in the game haven't disappointed. But can the Spurs recover after a Game 6 loss to hold serve?

Epic Win? Or Devastating Collapse?
One way or the other on Game 6: Did the Heat take it, or the Spurs give it away?

Freeze the Heat?
If the Heat win Thursday, should they stand pat with their roster?

Beyond League Pass: The No Headband Game
Andrew D. Bernstein /NBAE/Getty Images
Jun 19 2013 10:49AM

By now it's already been widely reported that LeBron James said that Game 6 was, "by far the best game I've ever been a part of."

It's hard to argue with him. Between the dramatic Heat comeback, Ray Allen's clutch 3-pointer and a down-to-the-wire overtime period, this game produced a lot of memories.

It may, however, be remembered for one more thing: LeBron's headband.

Or, rather, lack thereof.

James had his headband knocked off early in the fourth quarter and he played without it the rest of the way. Coincidentally, the fourth quarter is where James started to take over, scoring 16 points in the final frame of regulation, including a crucial three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

"I've never seen him play without his headband for that long, since his rookie year," Dwyane Wade said. "He got very aggressive. He really got to the paint and he was going to give everything that he had, and he did."

LeBron's headband also was a hot topic on Twitter.

As for Game 7, should he continue his no-headband look?

"Whatever makes him comfortable and that's going to make him play," Mario Chalmers said.

Jun 4 2013 3:55PM
One of the greatest Finals in history is headed to seven games. Who’s your pick to win it all? Let us know by tweeting #LETSGOHEAT or #GoSpursGo!

Jun 19 2013 1:35AM

Tony Parker steps back to drill the three and tie the game late in the fourth quarter.

Jun 18 2013 4:43PM

As the Finals reach their peak, get a behind-the-scenes look at the #NBAFinals in Miami with photos from all angles!

Jun 18 2013 3:13PM

Is there any urgency for the Spurs to win the 2013 Finals, with the team's ever-increasing age? For Tim Duncan, maybe, joked Tony Parker.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player

Jun 18 2013 3:00PM

The Spurs' sharpshooter, fresh off a record-breaking night in Game 5 (and you can watch all 25 of 'em from the Finals right here), got some more work in on Thursday morning.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player

...and talked to the media after, with the potential Finals MVP sharing his thoughts on what the Spurs have to do to clinch.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player
Can't Wait? Chat With NBA Experts Before Game 6!
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 17 2013 12:24AM

With the San Antonio Spurs on the cusp of an NBA championship, our team of international experts -- stretching from Miami to Manila -- got together on Tuesday morning to answer a world of questions. Check out the chat below.

Beyond League Pass: Manu's Worst Enemy
NBAE/Getty Images
Jun 17 2013 3:51PM

Even though watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

Manu Ginobili's spent most of the NBA Finals mad at himself.

"I was angry, disappointed," Ginobili said to reporters after Game 5. "We are playing in the NBA Finals, we were down 2-2, and I felt I still wasn't really helping the team that much. And that was the frustrating part."

But the path he took toward a vintage night in Game 5 made the night so much more redeeming for him. To a crowd of over 18,000 home fans people screaming his name, Ginobili finished the game with 24 points and 10 assists -- his biggest stat line since 2008.

"I needed it," he told reporters after the game. "I was having a tough time scoring, and I needed to feel like the game was coming to me, and I was being able to attack the rim, get to the free throw line, and make a couple of shots."

Ginobili is often a fan favorite of Spurs fans, from his daredevil gameplay to his animated celebrations on the court. He said he had to turn things around because he didn't want to let his fans -- especially the ones from his homeland of Argentina -- down.

"In Argentina there's a lot of people following and your family and friends and everybody, they think great of you and they expect great things. And sometimes that affects you a little bit," he said. "But at the end of the day, we all watch video. I watched the game again, and I see and I watched the things I could do better, how I pass the ball, and I don't think that I struggled that much. I just wasn't much of a factor offensively. And I had to be more aggressive."

Ginobili is now one game away from winning the fourth NBA championship of his career. But to do that is no easy task, especially in front of a fired up crowd of Miami Heat fans, rooting for a team that plays best with its back against the wall.

With a Spurs win, Tiago Splitter would become the first NBA champion from a land rich in basketball tradition.
NBA Brasil: What Tiago's Title Would Mean
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 17 2013 4:02PM

The impact's been great. But for all the hoops talent emanating out of Brazil -- from Anderson Varejao to Oscar Schmidt, the Brazilian legend and offensive virtuoso who never played in the NBA, to Rolando Ferreira, who became, in 1988, the first Brazilian to play in the NBA -- the international basketball power has never had a countryman bring home an NBA crown.

That could change Tuesday, if Tiago Splitter's San Antonio Spurs can finish off the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

And on Monday, three NBA Brasil bloggers -- Guilherme Buso, Luiz Guazzelli and Blogtable regular Adriano Albuquerque came together to reflect on the significance of the moment.

Click here for the full story (in Portuguese)

Jun 17 2013 12:49AM

The hamstring looks OK from here.

Jun 17 2013 12:02AM

The MVP gets some work in. Above the rim.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player

International Blogtable: Step-for-Step
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 14 2013 4:37PM
Through four games, the Heat and Spurs have traded wins, one coming after the other. In this edition of the International Blogtable, our worldwide scribes debate whether one team can win two in a row -- or whether the Spurs, by virtue of winning Game 1, will take it all in seven.

Game-by-Game, Step-for-Step
Through four games, the teams have traded wins. Who will be the first team to win two straight? Or will the Spurs win in 7? Why?

The Better Big Three?
It’s a best-of-three series now. So, knowing what you know now, which Big 3 would you rather have?
Beyond League Pass: Home of the Brave
NBAE/Getty Images
Jun 14 2013 3:14PM

Even though watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

It's a rare to get the chance to sing the national anthem at the NBA Finals. Even more so if you're 11 years old. Let alone to get the chance to do it twice.

But the story behind Sebastien De La Cruz's anthem before for Games 3 and 4 is a heartbreaking one.

De La Cruz gave a soaring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in Game 3 that had the crowd fired up on Thursday night. Unfortunately, it also fired up the Twittersphere as hate-filled and ignorant tweets questioned his U.S. citizenship and threw racial slurs at a boy not only proud to be born and raised in San Antonio but proud of his Mexican-American heritage as well.

But in San Antonio, one of the NBA's closest-knit communities, he's local celebrity, having done fairly well on America's Got Talent last year. So when singer Darius Rucker -- who was originally supposed to sing the anthem for Game 3 -- cancelled at the last minute, De La Cruz was asked the day of the game to sing to an audience of millions worldwide watching him.

Fortunately the hate was drowned out by a tremendous amount of support for him -- nowhere more than from inside San Antonio -- and he was asked to sing again for Game 4. Even Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, a man of very few words, had a lot to say about the hate hurled at Sebastien.

"I would like to say that I would be shocked or surprised by the comments," Popovich said. "But given the fact that there's still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I'm not surprised. It still plagues us, obviously. "

"He's a class act," Popovich added. "Way more mature than most his age. And as much as those comments by the idiots saddens you about your country, he makes you feel that the future could be very bright."

During Sebastien's second time around, the crowd gave him a monstrous standing ovation. De La Cruz picked up the microphone, stared ignorance right in the face, belted out the a and is now serving as a voice of inspiration for many around him. He even took questions from reporters about the whole ordeal saying it was support from his friends, family and the San Antonio Spurs that helped him get through it.

"It makes me feel real good about myself," he said. "It makes me feel like in San Antonio I know there is a lot of people that encourage me to keep on doing what I want to do. And Coach Pop, he's one of the No. 1 ones who help me keep my head up and actually all of the Spurs. I want to thank Coach Popovich and all the Spurs for helping me keep my head up."
International Blogtable: Questions Abound Before Game 4
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 13 2013 3:36PM

With LeBron James promising that he'll be "much better" in Game 4 and Tony Parker vowing that he'll play despite a hamstring strain, our stable of international scribes sorts through the three biggest questions heading into Thursday.

A Surprising Finals
One blowout each way, and a shot for the ages: What’s surprised you?

Alarm Bells For Heat, Spurs
What worries you if you’re a Spurs’ fan? A Heat fan?

Has Anyone Seen LeBron?
How do you think LeBron is playing so far in these Finals?

The one-time superstar -- still an international fan-favorite -- talks about what's ahead in the short and long-term
Jun 12 2013 7:23PM

After seeing time for most of the fourth quarter in Game 3 -- and going scoreless, despite the efforts of Spurs fans all around the world to will one of his jumpers to drop -- Tracy McGrady shared his thoughts on his current role and whether retirement's entering the picture.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player

Jun 12 2013 2:38AM

Even though watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

Since I parachuted into San Antonio on Monday, I started getting a feel for what San Antonio Spurs fans are like by chatting it up with the people that often know their towns best -- cab drivers. Men like Alex El-Halim, a taxi driver from Egypt who told me about how heartbroken Spurs fans were watching their home team get blown out in Game 2.

With that same kind of passion, you can only imagine the kind of energy the crowd brought when the Spurs blew out the Miami Heat in Game 3. Television didn't do the noise -- or the energy -- justice. Even all the traditionally hokey crowd pumpers on the loudspeaker like "Everybody clap your hands!" were met with roaring applause.

Several hours after the game, I hailed a cab back to my hotel. My cab driver, Syed Rehman -- from India -- started telling me how downtown transforms into a madhouse every time the Spurs win. Every light he stopped at, fans started screaming and slapping the hood of his car.

"You're happy your team won, I get it," he said with a laugh." "Roll down your window, play some loud music and go to the corner and dance. But whatever you do, don't touch my car."

But at the end of the day, the only celebrating that will matter is for which team will win this series. And after three thrilling games of basketball, there's very little indication whatsoever as to which direction this series will go. All the more reason to look forward to Game 4.

Jun 12 2013 2:38AM

In the NBA Finals' third edition of our daily top play from an international player, Brazilian-born center Tiago Splitter takes a feed from Manu Ginobili and throws down a big dunk.

And after learning a very important lesson on Sunday, he made sure to use both hands.

Jun 11 2013 4:56PM

We caught up with Shane Battier and Chris Bosh in the lead-up to Tuesday's third game of the NBA Finals.

Jun 11 2013 3:11PM

Check out the #NBAFinals contestants during Tuesday's shootaround session, hours before Game 3 tips in San Antonio.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player
A terse Gregg Popovich meets with the media.
Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player
Dwyane Wade goes through shooting drills.
International Blogtable: What's Ahead in Game 3?
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 11 2013 3:04PM

After the Spurs took drubbing in Game 2, our international editors weighed in on what to expect from San Antonio when it returns home for Tuesday's Game 3.

Mystery Solved?
With a win that big, we have to ask something: did the Heat just figure out the Spurs?

What's Up, Pop?
If you’re Gregg Popovich, what’s your next move?

Jun 10 2013 3:39PM

Our international team of experts -- reaching from shootaround in San Antonio to nearly midnight in Manila, Philippines -- got together before Game 3 to chat with international fans. Check out the conversation below!

Beyond League Pass: Being LeBron James
Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images
Jun 8 2013 4:56PM

Even though watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

As we all know, LeBron James is a once-in-a-generation athlete. A talent that just cannot be replicated, which leaves opposing teams with the dilemma of trying to simulate his playmaking ability in practice so that they can adequately prepare to face him.

Prior to the NBA Finals, the Spurs had someone play the part of LeBron in practice. It just might not be who you'd think.

Tracy McGrady.

The seven-time All-Star and two-time scoring champ is on the back-end of his stellar 15-year NBA career at the age of 34, but his tremendous talent, albeit dwindling, is San Antonio's best option to recreate not only the ability, but the thought process of the reigning MVP.

"I think I did a great job," McGrady said. "I'm a scorer. I'm a playmaker."

Speaking of LeBron, while there may be a few more experienced veterans on the Heat's roster, it's obvious the weight that he carries with his teammates. As the Heat were closing practice on Saturday, several of the players were shooting half-court shots, much like they were yesterday. Then, LeBron announced, "free throws" and all the players in earshot lined the key and started shooting free throws, playing a game where each player would have to make three in a row before the next person could shoot.

After that, LeBron had the team start a 3-point shooting contest of sorts, where each player found a spot behind the arc and stayed there, with each player shooting once at a time.

Once that was over, this happened.

*NOTE: He made plenty more than just the ones on this video.

Beyond League Pass: Friday Notebook
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 7 2013 7:04PM

Even though watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Right as San Antonio's shootaround started on Friday afternoon, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich went directly over to Manu Ginobili, an 11-year veteran, to give him advice. And, as you would come to expect with anyone on the Spurs, he was eager to learn from the legendary coach.

It appeared that Popovich was giving the Argentine some advice on his balance and was making sure Ginobili remembered to have his feet firmly underneath him before he goes to shoot. You can see that in this picture to the right.

Popovich and Ginobili talked for nearly five minutes before the rest of the practice began. Watch Game 2 on NBA League Pass to see if Ginobili is shooting with good balance on Sunday night.

On Thursday night, San Antonio's Matt Bonner might have been on an opposing team's floor, but he was in familiar territory. A former University of Florida star, Bonner said that he even received some positive feedback from the Miami crowd. And, in pure Gator Nation fashion, the only way to do so was with a Gator Chomp, the famous gesture made by fans of the school.

"Anytime we play here or Orlando there's always a small Gator faction that, even though I'm on the other team, will give me a subtle 'Go Gators' or Gator Chomp," Bonner said. "I appreciate it."

Bonner isn't the only Florida product playing in the NBA Finals. On Miami, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller also played for the Gators. In fact, in the 1999-2000 season, all three of those players were members of the Florida team that lost to Michigan State in the National Championship.

Haslem, who has played for the Heat his entire 10-season career, knows the strength of the University of Florida fan base as well as anyone.

"Gator nation is strong. Everywhere I go, we got Gators," Haslem said. "We are all over the place. No matter where I go, we got Gator support. We got someone going 'Go Gators'. In different cities, restaurants, in the stands, regardless of who they're cheering for, they're always saying, "Go Gators."

Down 1-0 in the series, Miami appeared looser at practice than you might expect. Then again, maybe the Heat know exactly what they're doing.

Miami has not lost back-to-back games since early January and both of their NBA titles came after they lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

So, that may explain the relative fun the team was having at the beginning of their practice with a half-court shot shooting competition that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Mike Miller and Rashard Lewis were participating in.

See below for some of the highlights.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player

Beyond League Pass: LeBron's Sportsmanship
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 7 2013 11:18AM
While watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

In the 2009-10 season, Lebron James' last year in Cleveland, Danny Green was a rookie just trying to stick with the Cavaliers. He played in 20 games that year and actually credited James with being a mentor of sorts.

On Thursday night, with Green now having carved out a role as a starter and key player for the Spurs, the two faced off in the NBA Finals. LeBron had a triple-double in the loss, while Green had 12 points, including a clutch 3-pointer late in the game.

The loss -- one partially dealt by Green -- had to sting for James, one of the most scrutinized athletes of this generation. As James left the postgame press conference (seen here in a green polo shirt) and was making his way out of the building, he just happened to walk past Green, who was leaving as well. In an moment not seen by many, less than a half hour after his team fell down 1-0 in the NBA Finals, James saw Green and gave him a quick hug.

It was an act of sportsmanship between the former teammates. It will not get any air time on ESPN. And, outside of this space, it will likely not be covered at all. But, it appears you can add "gracious in defeat" to LeBron's repertoire.

Though, judging by a Heat team that's followed up its last 10 losses with a win, you won't have a chance to see that side too often.
Tony Parker strings out the Spurs' final possession for all it's worth before hitting an off-balance dagger
Jun 7 2011 12:22AM let's slow it down.

NBA India: The Throne Awaits
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 6 2013 11:19PM
With the NBA Finals providing the most compelling stories outside of a certain HBO Sunday series, NBA India's Akshay Manwani and Karan Madhok got together to hash out their picks for 2013 NBA Finals champion.

Read the full story here
International Blogtable: Sights Set on A Title
NBAE via Getty Images
Jun 5 2013 7:16PM
The first game of the 2013 NBA Finals is fast approaching and there are several key issues that our expert writers and editors discuss in these International Blogtables.

A Finals Full of Intrigue | Rest vs. Rust | Serious Heat on Spurs
Jun 6 2013 11:29PM
For a decade and a half, Tracy McGrady was synonymous with a number of things. Big shots. Mind-warping drives to the hoop. And Playoff frustration.

But now, after turning into a household name in a country -- China -- with more households than anywhere else, T-Mac's making his NBA Finals debut with the San Antonio Spurs. It's a different role than the one he enjoyed as a dynamo in Houston, but one that could give him the lone thing missing in his brilliant career: a ring.

He caught up with the media before Thursday's Game 1.

Beyond League Pass: Juwan Howard's Leadership
Beyond League Pass: Juwan Howard's Leadership
Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
Jun 5 2013 7:50PM

While watching the NBA Finals on NBA League Pass will give you everything you need to know on the court, this daily feature called Beyond League Pass will give you insight into storylines and happenings that you won’t get anywhere else.

You can watch every second of the NBA Finals and you still might not see Miami forward Juwan Howard in anything other than a tailored suit. The 18-year veteran has not played yet in the 2013 NBA Playoffs, but there is no doubt the member of the famed Fab Five will play a valuable, albeit mostly invisible, role in this series.

Howard, who famously gave a passionate speech during halftime of Miami’s Game 5 win versus Indiana, is a highly respected member of Miami’s locker room and the elder statesman has a firm grasp of not only the historical nature of what Miami is trying to accomplish, but the mindset they need to be in to achieve those goals.

“I want the mindset of this team, which I’m very confident is at that level, is that we’re locked in, were focused,” Howard said. “We know that we’re trying to build a legacy here and we understand that this is a team that is trying to take our legacy. If all of us have that in mind, we’re locked in, I think our mindset will be extremely strong and we’ll be unbreakable.”

Those are strong words from someone that has earned everyone’s ear, something not so common for someone on the end of the bench.

“It’s flattering, I must say,” Howard said of the respect he gets from his teammates despite playing limited minutes. “Because sometimes when you have a veteran on your team, he might be a guy that has a bunch of lip service and say all the right things, but he’s not doing all the things he says and he’s trying to tell other guys to do. My teammates see all the work that I put in. I’m not a rotation guy, but I prepare myself like I am going to play tomorrow, like I am a rotation guy, and they respect that.”

In what is expected to be a closely contested series against an experience-heavy Spurs team, Howard’s influence could end up being an under-the-radar equalizer for his eager-to-listen teammates.

“I don’t just talk just to talk,” Howard said. “I try to know that whenever it’s time to speak, I’m speaking from my heart and I’m speaking the truth and I think they see that and they embrace it. I just have some great teammates who humble themselves and know when a guy like me speaks, it’s time to listen.”

Howard may only have his words this series. But they can echo loudly.