Many were surprised by San Antonio stealing Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Miami, but the Heat stormed back to rout the Spurs in Game 2. Now momentum would appear to be with the NBA champs, who showed exactly why they are still the crown bearers. The Finals resume on Tuesday in the Lone Star State as both powerhouses look for the upper hand. Now that the series has shifted to San Antonio, the Spurs find themselves as a modest favorite on the NBA odds.
Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs
Odds: Spurs -2
The Heat put the clamps on the Spurs in Game 2, holding the Western Conference champions to 41% from the floor in a 103-84 romp, and after forcing just four turnovers in the first game of the series, Miami prodded San Antonio into 16 turnovers with just six of their own. LeBron James didn’t have the best shooting night, going 7-of-17 from the field, but he finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks (including THAT block on Tiago Splitter) in a performance that encapsulates just how good his all-around game is. Mario Chalmers scored 19 for the Heat, who are known for their athletic offensive play, but when they tighten up, they’re one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Danny Green was the lone bright spot for the Spurs as he was 6-of-6 from the field (including 5-of-5 from three-point land) for a team-high 17 points, but there wasn’t much else from his teammates. Tony Parker looked a shadow of the player that torched the Heat in Game 1, putting up 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting with the same number of assists as turnovers (five), while Tim Duncan was 3-of-13 for nine points, although he did added 11 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had five points and three turnovers in just 18 minutes of work, and the Spurs were just beaten all over the floor. They did manage to post better rebounding numbers than the Heat (a 44-36 edge, including 15-9 on the offensive glass), but their offensive execution was terrible; they, like Parker, didn’t look anything like we saw in Game 1.
After two games as the underdogs on the road, the Spurs come home to a 2.5-point edge in the lines and they’ve been dominant at home, going 7-1, covering the spread in half of those games. The Heat have lost three of their last five in San Antonio since November of 2007, but have covered the spread in three of those games.
San Antonio’s best players will play better on their homecourt as they’ll get a little more energy from their fans, and you’ll see a better Spurs team in Game 3. The Heat will need more, once again, from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (although Bosh did have 10 boards in Game 2) because they can’t count on many more 19-point games from Chalmers. This feels like a very pivotal game in the Finals, especially with the 2-3-2 format that teams play now and there won’t be a lot to separate the two. After a low-scoring start, expect James to be more aggressive down the stretch in Game 3 and lead Miami to a basketball betting victory.
Pick: Heat +2