June 11, 2013 at 4:55 PM #52329
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Miami Heat (1-1) at San Antonio Spurs (1-1)
Tuesday, June 11
AT&T Center, San Antonio
9 p.m. EST
Spread – Spurs -2
O/U – 187
If the Heat could play every game like they did in the second half of Game 2 on Sunday night, there would be no reason to even have an NBA.
That 33-5 run that turned a tight game into a run-of-the-mill blowout was the equivalent on Tiger Woods strolling down the fairway in the back nine of the final round of a tournament with a 12-stroke lead.
Fortunately for the San Antonio Spurs, the Heat are unable to keep their feet on the accelerator 24/7, and that’s what’s makes Game 3 tonight – the first of three straight at home for the Spurs in the NBA’s quirky playoff setup — all the more interesting.
Chances are pretty good that the Spurs have already put Game 2 in their rear-view mirror, and tonight in front of the home folks will put four quarters of decent basketball on the board, a good facsimile to the first six they played in the series and nothing like periods three and four of Sunday night’s game.
“If you look at the result – being 1-1, it’s not bad,” said Manu Ginobili, who had only five points to go along with three turnovers in his worst game of the playoffs as he was hounded by LeBron James most of the night. “But you don’t want to play like this in an NBA Finals. You don’t want to give them that much confidence and you feeling bad about yourself.”
Meanwhile, the Heat have to be strutting as they get three chances in San Antonio to regain home-court advantage. Several members of Miami’s supporting cast stepped up big-time in Game 2, among them Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers. When those two start hitting 3-pointers, there are not many options from a defense that must concentrate on James lest he hang 50 on the board.
But not worry. The Spurs have been down this road, and if we know anything about coach Gregg Popovich, it’s that one playoff loss is hardly the end of the world. Pops has always been willing to take a step back in order to increase the chances of taking two forward. SA’s starters (plus Ginobili) averaged under 26 minutes of play in Game 2, so they’ll be fresh tonight.
That said, Pops knows the heat is squarely on his Spurs tonight, and his front-liners can ill afford to play anything like they did on Sunday night.
“Missing shots and not shooting it well and turning it over is a bad combination,” said Popovich.
THE PICK – So much for the prediction here that every game in the series would go deep into the fourth period. Guess it was unrealistic to expect that the Heat would play eight periods of playoff ball at home and not go crazy for at least one quarter. The biggest surprise so far in the series has been that the winning team in each game has been solidly outrebounded.
That can’t continue, and Miami just does not hit the boards as well on the road as it does at home. Liking a play on the over (187) here – the over has cashed in 5 of SA’s 7 home playoff games.
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