Game 2 - Spurs at Heat
June 8, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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San Antonio's quest at a fifth championship got off to a solid start by stealing Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Spurs rallied past the Heat, 92-88 to win their seventh straight playoff game, while cashing outright as five-point underdogs (+190 on the money-line). The keys to San Antonio's victory including hitting big shots, while limiting Miami's Big Three each to less than 20 points.
Tony Parker's circus-shot in the final minute put the Spurs up for good, as the All-Star point guard continued his strong postseason with a game-high 21 points. Tim Duncan failed to score a point in the first quarter, but the future Hall-of-Famer scored 20 points, including a crucial buzzer-beater to close the opening half. Kawhi Leonard impressed in his Finals debut by compiling a double-double, while the Spurs overcame 41% shooting from the floor.
Following a high-scoring first half (101 points), things slowed down in the second half as the two teams combined for only 79 points, resulting in an 'under' on a 189 ½ total. Gregg Popovich's squad trailed at the end of each of the first three quarters, but San Antonio outscored Miami, 23-16 in the final 12 minutes.
The last time LeBron James faced San Antonio in the NBA Finals as a member of the Cavaliers, Cleveland was swept in the 2007 championship. This time around, the league MVP posted a triple-double (18 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists) in the series opener, but received little help elsewhere. Chris Bosh's recent playoff struggles continued by hitting just 6-of-16 shots from the floor, including an 0-for-4 showing from three-point range. Dwyane Wade couldn't follow up his impressive effort in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, as the shooting guard scored 17 points, while being held scoreless in the fourth quarter in Thursday's Game 1.
The Spurs improved to 5-0 all-time in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, while the Heat lost the opener of the Finals for the third time in four chances. However, Miami ended up winning the title the last two instances after losing the series opener against Dallas ('06) and Oklahoma City ('12). Also, Erik Spoelstra's club has done a terrific job bouncing back from losses in the postseason, going 4-0 SU/ATS with all four victories coming by double-digits.
San Antonio is the only team in the playoffs to own just one road loss, coming at Golden State in overtime in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Spurs have put together a 4-0 SU/ATS record in the role of a road underdog in the postseason, while going 11-4 ATS in the playoffs after closing the regular season with seven consecutive ATS losses.
In each of the last three NBA Finals, the team that won the series opener ended up losing Game 2 of the series (OKC '12, Miami '11, and Los Angeles '10). Also, the Thunder and Heat each held home-court advantage in the previous two NBA Finals and lost the Finals, which could spell trouble for Miami if it loses on Sunday night.
VegasInsider.com's Chris David breaks down the total from the opener, "Game 1 saw the total close anywhere between 190 and 191 points, which was pushed up by public money. After watching the first-half, in particular the second quarter, bettors were definitely on the right side. However, the game slowed down and Miami couldn't buy a shot from the outside, which is going to be the key to this series. The pace was solid and geared closer to the 'over,' but the pair only combined for 35 free throw attempts and that number should be closer to 45 when you look at the Spurs and Heat season averages. Neither team shot well, which is also surprising for two of the top three offenses in the league."
Moving onto Sunday night, David believes the 'over' will bounce back, "Game 2's number should close around 188 and I'd expect Miami to do its part based off its playoff trends, especially after losing in Game 1. Off a loss in this year's postseason, the Heat has scored 115, 114, 90 and 99 points. I'd be surprised to see a number below the previous four scores and if Miami does start connecting, notching triple digits is very doable. While it's hard to ignore the Heat's success off a loss (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) in the playoffs, you can't deny what San Antonio has done on the road with its defense. The Spurs have allowed 88.6 PPG in eight postseason (7-1 SU, 7-1 ATS) games away from home and the highest outputs (97, 93) came in overtime battles."
Miami opened up as a -240 favorite to win the series, but now Miami is listed at +105 to capture the championship. The odds have significantly changed for San Antonio as well with the Spurs going from +200 to -125 to win their fifth title. The Heat are still listed as home 'chalk' in Game 2 as six-point favorites at most outlets, while the total sits at 188.
The game tips off at 8:00 PM EST from the American Airlines Arena on Sunday night, as ABC will televise the contest nationally.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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