June 13, 2013 at 2:15 PM #52336
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Miami Heat (1-2) at San Antonio Spurs (2-1)
Thursday, June 13
AT&T Center, San Antonio
9 p.m. EST
Spread – Spurs -1
O/U – 187
Chris Bosh may pull his head out of his you-know-what and throw a 20/15 effort against the Spurs tonight in San Antonio in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Mario Chalmers might replicate his Game 1 performance and toss in 19 or 20 points, actually being an NBA point guard.
Or someone else – Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Dwyane Wade – will put it together.
But one thing is certain. The Spurs will move heaven and Earth to play the play defense on LeBron James the way they have in Games 1, 2 and 3 in an effort to stop the league near-unanimous MVP to single-handedly even this series at two wins apiece. Sometimes even that’s not enough.
James is averaging a mere 16.7 points in the series, and in that Game 3 blowout loss he shot just 7 for 17 from the floor. Incredibly, he hoisted only two free throws, and as every NBA player who had guarded him knows, it doesn’t take much contact to send the league’s most marketable player to the foul line.
“I take full responsibility for our team’s performance,” James said after Tuesday night’s loss. “I can’t afford to perform like I did and expect us to win on the road. It’s that simple. So I’m putting all the pressure on my chest, on my shoulders, to come through for our team. That’s the way it is.”
Translation: I’ll be taking 25 to 30 shots, and if you think you can stop me, go ahead. No more setting the table so Udonis Haslem can take a few extra jumpers from the corner.
The Spurs, meanwhile, will no doubt stay with the girl they brought to the dance – pressuring James on the perimeter, throwing a double-team at him on a regular basis after he puts the ball on the floor, and in general trying to force the ball into the hands of one of his teammates. Because they can live with a few Mike Miller long balls, but a James 38/18/12 night will most likely even the series.
San Antonio, meanwhile, is mum about the status of PG Tony Parker, who developed hamstring problems late in Game 3. Parker will reportedly be a gametime decision. That wouldn’t be a problem if the Spurs were certain that Gary Neal and Danny Green were go nuts (7 for 8 on 3-pointers, combined 27 points) again, but Miami will no doubt make adjustments to stop that from happening.
FREE NBA PICK
We’re 2-1 so far in the series, winning on SA in the opener and the over in Game 3, and losing after picking the Spurs in Game 2. Liking the Spurs again tonight, at -1, but hang on until SA decides whether Parker is a go. Without Parker, Manu Ginobili gets more minutes, and MG has had a rough series (25 total points) as he deals with James’s defense.
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