Sports

Spurs may get another chance at the Heat, but have to survive rugged West in NBA playoffs

  • FILE - In this June 13, 2013 file photo, Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) passes between San Antonio Spurs' Boris Diaw (33), of France,  and Manu Ginobili (20), of Argentina, during the second half at Game 4 of the NBA Finals, in San Antonio.  A rematch of last year's thrilling NBA Finals finish is possible, but the Spurs and Heat would have to get through tough paths to get there. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

    FILE - In this June 13, 2013 file photo, Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) passes between San Antonio Spurs' Boris Diaw (33), of France, and Manu Ginobili (20), of Argentina, during the second half at Game 4 of the NBA Finals, in San Antonio. A rematch of last year's thrilling NBA Finals finish is possible, but the Spurs and Heat would have to get through tough paths to get there. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 18, 2013 file photo, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, right, and Miami Heat small forward LeBron James collide during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Miami.  A rematch of last year's thrilling NBA Finals finish is possible, but the Spurs and Heat would have to get through tough paths to get there.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

    FILE - In this June 18, 2013 file photo, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, right, and Miami Heat small forward LeBron James collide during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Miami. A rematch of last year's thrilling NBA Finals finish is possible, but the Spurs and Heat would have to get through tough paths to get there. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)  (The Associated Press)

To get another shot at LeBron James, the San Antonio Spurs may have to go through Dirk Nowitzki, then Dwight Howard and James Harden, and finally Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Survive all that, and maybe they can avenge that NBA Finals heartbreak.

The Spurs host Dallas in their first playoff game Sunday, right before James and the Heat begin what they hope is a run to a third straight championship. Miami's path seems much easier, but James' team also appears more vulnerable than the one that was an overwhelming favorite in last year's playoffs.

The NBA postseason begins Saturday with four games: Top-seeded Indiana hosts Atlanta, and Brooklyn visits Toronto in the Eastern Conference, while the West series openers include Golden State at the Clippers, and Oklahoma City against Memphis.