To get another shot at LeBron James, the San Antonio Spurs might 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.

"There's definitely that burning desire in the back of your mind that really wants to get back there," Spurs guard Patty Mills said.

They get started 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.

Maybe that was boredom, though. Count on the Heat to pick it up now.

"This is why we're all here," Heat forward Shane Battier said.

On Sunday, No. 1 overall seed San Antonio opens against Dallas, right before Miami welcomes Charlotte.

The postseason came to a thrilling conclusion last year, with the Heat rallying from a five-point deficit in the final 28 seconds of regulation to win Game 6. Miami went on to take a tight Game 7 to hand San Antonio its first loss in five NBA Finals appearances.

Many thought that was the last chance for the Spurs' core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Instead, San Antonio won a league-high 62 games in perhaps the franchise's finest all-around season.

Bobcats: Charlotte will have to find a way to stop LeBron James if it hopes to win its first playoff game in franchise history. Miami is 15-0 against the Bobcats since James joined the Heat in 2010. James averaged 37.7 points per game against the Bobcats this season, buoyed by a career-high 61-point effort March 3.

Knicks: Carmelo Anthony called New York's 37-45 season a "failure" and an "embarrassment" that he's unwilling to go through again. He plans to become a free agent in July and said he wants to stay in New York and also be someplace where he can compete for championships.

Clippers: Blake Griffin has added his voice to calls for the NBA and other professional sports leagues to investigate allowing players to use medical marijuana as a means to manage pain.

"It doesn't really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects," Griffin said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. "So I would vote yes."

ESPN.com contributed to this report.