- Live and replay coverage of every game in best-of-seven series
- Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder battle for the 2012 title
ESPN will broadcast live and exclusive coverage of every game of the 2012 NBA Finals. The sports media company will bring viewers all the action, direct from the US, as the two best teams battle for the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship trophy. The NBA Finals are set to start on Tuesday 12th June** and each live game will be preceded by ESPN’s pre-game studio show NBA Countdown, providing all the pregame analysis and playoff news.
The NBA Conference Finals (also live on ESPN) started Sunday 27th May, as the San Antonio Spurs lead the Western Conference Finals 2-1 over the Oklahoma City Thunder, after the Thunder stormed to a Game three victory – ending a 20-game winning streak by the Spurs. The teams finished as the top two in the conference during the regular season, with the first-placed Spurs carrying their winning form into the playoffs. They have gone unbeaten through the first round and Conference Semi-finals, sweeping both the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs, winners of four Championships in the past 12 years, boast experience and leadership with the playoff veterans Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
The Thunder knocked out reigning NBA Champions the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, before taking just five games to dismantle the Los Angeles Lakers. Led by Kevin Durant – who led the NBA in scoring during the regular season for the third year in a row – and two-time All-Star Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are a young team on the rise, looking to take the final step to becoming champions.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics again find themselves facing off in the playoffs. Miami leads the series 2-0, despite a record-setting game two from Celtic’s guard Rajon Rondo. The star-studded Heat are looking for their second consecutive NBA Finals appearance (losing to the Mavericks last year). Miami knocked off the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, before beating the Indiana Pacers in six games – but losing one of their “big three” stars in the process. With Chris Bosh (who averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and a block per game this season) out due to injury, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have stepped up and combined to score at a record-setting pace. In the final three games of Miami’s second-round series with Indiana (after Bosh was injured) the duo combined to score 197 points. The momentum carried into Game 1 against the Celtics on Monday night, when they combined for 54 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 blocks.
The Celtics – the NBA’s most successful franchise of all time with 17 titles overall – have played the most games of the four Conference Finalists, needing six games to beat Atlanta Hawks, and all seven to overcome the tough Philadelphia 76ers. Like the Heat, the Celtics boast their own “big three” – Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen – whose playoff experience and knowhow is also helped by the dynamic play of Rondo, the NBA’s assist leader this season.
THE NBA FINALS – LIVE ON ESPN: Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder
Day Live / Replay Time Game
|Tuesday 12th June||Live||2.00am||Game One|
|Wednesday 13th June||Replay||5.30pm||Game One|
|Thursday 14th June||Live||2.00am||Game Two|
|Friday 15th June||Replay||7.00pm||Game Two|
|Sunday 17th June||Live||2.00am||Game Three|
|Monday 18th June||Replay||7.00pm||Game Three|
|Tuesday 19th June||Live||2.00am||Game Four|
|Wednesday 20th June||Replay||4.45pm||Game Four|
|Thursday 21st June||Live||2.00am||Game Five *|
|Friday 22nd June||Replay||7.00pm||Game Five *|
|Sunday 24th June||Live||2.00am||Game Six *|
|Monday 25th June||Replay||5.15pm||Game Six *|
|Tuesday 26th June||Live||2.00am||Game Seven *|
|Wednesday 27th June||Replay||7.00pm||Game Seven *|
**NOTE: the start date could be moved forward to Sunday 10th June depending on the date the Conference Finals are finished
NBA Finals and 2012 London Olympics
The NBA Conference Finals include 12 players that are due to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. James, Bosh, Wade, Durant and Westbrook all are likely to feature on the USA Olympic team in London. The Spurs roster is filled with Olympians, with Tony Parker and Boris Diaw likely to feature heavily for France, while Manu Ginobli will front a tough Argentina team, and teammates Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills will feature for Brazil and Australia, respectively. Serge Ibaka (Durant’s frontcourt teammate for the Thunder) will feature for Spain, and the Celtic’s Mickael Pietrus will join Parker and Diaw for France.