Finals Do's and Don'ts

Four years in a row, five times in the past decade — the NBA Finals never get old for a Miami Heat fan. The San Antonio Spurs also bring with them a welcome familiarity, with star players drawn from the Caribbean, Europe and South America, their sophisticated style of play a Lance Stephenson-less breath of fresh air, and last year’s Heat-Spurs series still a source of magical memories. To keep the good vibrations rolling through the 2014 NBA Finals Thursday-June 20, here are some do’s and don’ts to consider.

DO STAY CLASSY, South Florida. For instance, unassuming Spurs star Tim Duncan, uncharacteristically, has promised to bring home an NBA championship, saying, “We’ll do it this time. We’re happy it’s the Heat again.” We’re bigger than that.

DON’T LEAVE AmericanAirlines Arena before the end of a game (home games are June 10, 12 and, if needed, June 17). No matter how bad the gridlock around the arena, it could not equal the social-media traffic that piled up when Heat fans got locked out before Ray Allen hit the shot heard around the world last year in Game 6.

DO STAY UP to date (especially if you are locked out) throughout the series with steady updates at SunSentinel.com/heat, Twitter.com/iraheatbeat, Twitter.com/davehydesports.

DON’T SCHEDULE any morning-after meetings. Beginning with Thursday's opener, most of the Finals games will start at 9 p.m. (Games 2 and 5 are at 8 p.m.) Knowing how the NBA wanders into its TV coverage, your head may not hit the pillow until tomorrow.

DO BE HAPPY to see Fort Lauderdale’s Julia Dale come out to sing the National Anthem for each of the Heat’s three Finals home games. Sure, the Spurs will trot out chart-topping pretty boy Austin Mahone Thursday night, but can the inoffensive San Antonio native (totally dominated by Miami’s Pitbull in their remix of Mahone’s hit “MMM Yeah”) beat Julia’s 38-7 career playoff record, 8-0 this year?

DON’T START printing up T-shirts emblazoned with “Three-Peat,” “ThreePeat,” “3-Peat” or “3Peat.” Not because it may jinx us, but because Heat president Pat Riley has registered ownership of all these phrases with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

DO MAKE YOUR watch-party guests of all persuasions feel at home: Non-Heat fans can drown their sorrows in the San Antonio Spur (layers of orange juice, tequila and Tuaca citrus liqueur). Locals can celebrate with the Burning Mandarin, created for the Heat by mixologist Shane Gee at Hyde, the upscale bar at AmericanAirlines Arena:

The Burning Mandarin
Ingredients: 2 Serrano chili slices, 1.5 oz. Absolute Mandarin Vodka, 3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice, 1/2 oz. cranberry juice, 1/2 oz. simple syrup.
Step 1: In a pint mixing glass, add 1 chili slice and hand press with a muddler
Step 2: Add spirits and mixers, fill glass with ice, and shake vigorously for six seconds
Step 3: Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with chili slice and superfine sugar on rim.

DON’T BE UNNERVED by Vegas oddsmakers leaning toward the Spurs winning the series. That’s just them stirring the pot. On the other hand, ESPN’s voluminous and vociferous Stephen A. Smith is picking the Heat (he went with the Spurs last year) — that should scare you.

DO PASS ALONG to visiting San Antonio fans your sincere condolences about the passing of Ann B. Davis. The former “Brady Bunch” star, who died this week, was a major celebrity in San Antonio.

DO BREAK OUT your summer whites. The Finals theme is “White Hot” (#whitehotheatstyle), and even Moët & Chandon is dressing the part with special deliveries to Total Wine and other South Florida shops of white-bottled Moët Ice Impérial, the “official” champagne of the Heat’s playoffs. The bubbly, designed to be served over ice, also is served at the Moet Champagne Bar on the 100 level of AmericanAirlines Arena — the only champagne bar in an NBA arena.

DO THE MATH: If the Heat win, they’ll have the same number of NBA championships as the revered Spurs and their “gruff genius”* head coach Gregg Popovich. (*Per Rolling Stone this week.) Dynasty? Stay classy, South Florida.

Get daily updates on South Florida entertainment and things to do at SouthFlorida.com, on Twitter at @BenCrandell and Instagram /BenCrandell. Email: bcrandell@southflorida.com.