The Trail Blazers may have missed the cut, but the NBA Finals features some distinctive Portland flavor nonetheless.
A lot of newbies to Portland might not realize that Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra grew up in the Rose City and played basketball at Jesuit High and University of Portland. Additionally, his father, Jon Spoelstra, worked as senior vice president and general manager for the Trail Blazers.
Now, the younger Spoelstra has helped take the third Heat team to the NBA Finals. He served as an assistant to Pat Riley on the 2006 NBA title team that include Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, coached LeBron James, Wade and Chris Bosh to four NBA Finals appearances (two titles) and now coached a well-balanced team with one perennial All-Star in Jimmy Butler to the finals.
Oh, and not to mention that former Blazers fan favorite Meyers Leonard plays for the Heat. In his first season in Miami, he appeared in 51 games (49 starts) and averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. He's only played in one playoff game, as Miami has surged with Bam Adebayo playing post.
And, of course, the Heat's opponent, LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers, eliminated the Trail Blazers in the first round. (Remember when Charles Barkley predicted a Portland series win and possible sweep?)
The NBA Finals schedule (on ABC/ESPN): Game 1, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30; Game 2, 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2; Game 3, 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4; Game 4, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6; Game 5 (if necessary), 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9; Game 6 (if necessary), 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11; Game 7 (if necessary), 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13.
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