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This year's NBA Finals matchup places the scorching Miami Heat up against the battle-tested San Antonio Spurs. With so much at stake for both teams, it is hard not to be drawn in to the excitement.

LeBron James has the chance for revenge at the Spurs, who swept him in the 2007 NBA Finals. James hasn't forgotten the embarrassing loss, and will certainly be fueled by the memory of it.

By adding a second championship to his impressive résumé, James would be yet another step closer to having a place among players like Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

With a fifth championship, Tim Duncan would be a perfect five-for-five in the NBA Finals and cement his legacy as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

With so much hanging in the balance, both teams had an opportunity to take an early lead in the series Thursday night in Miami, but only one would come out on top.

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The San Antonio Spurs hadn't played a basketball game in nine days, and there was much speculation that they would come out of the gate rusty. In game 1, the Spurs erased all doubts as they topped the Miami Heat 92-88 in a late game thriller, in which Tony Parker hit a bank shot with just over five seconds left to put the Spurs up by four points, sealing the victory.

Parker led all scorers with 21 points and 6 assists. Duncan added 20 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks for the Spurs.

For Miami, James notched his 10th career playoff triple-double with 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. Dwyane Wade added 17 points.

The game was neck-and-neck the entire way, neither team led by more than nine points. In dissecting game 1, there are five things that can be learned, beginning with the Heat's struggles.

You can follow Mitch Kunzler on Twitter at: @MitchKunzler