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Game 6 - Spurs at Heat

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The roller-coaster known as the NBA Finals continues as the Spurs look to close out the Heat for the franchise's fifth championship. San Antonio shot lights out in Game 5 on Sunday night, as the scene shifts back to South Florida on Tuesday with both teams seeking some sort of consistency in this series.

For all the stars taking center-stage in the NBA Finals, former North Carolina standout Danny Green has been the biggest difference-maker (and three-point maker) for the Spurs. Green knocked down six shots from downtown, while lifting San Antonio to a 114-104 home triumph as one-point underdogs. Following a disappointing effort in the final half of Game 4, the Spurs' offense rebounded with a combined 74 points from Green, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. The former Sixth Man of the Year started for the first time in the series, scoring 24 points in Game 5, seven more than the previous three games combined.

The Heat's Big Three stepped up in Game 4 as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh combined for 85 points. However, the three stars put up just 66 points in Game 5, including just 26 in the second half. Miami cut a 17-point first half deficit to nine by halftime, while getting within one point with three minutes left in three quarters. However, a 19-1 run by the Spurs cooled off the Heat rally, putting Miami on the brink of elimination for the fifth time since James, Wade, and Bosh joined forces in 2011.

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The Spurs are sitting in an advantageous spot on Tuesday, as teams in the NBA Finals with the first opportunity to close a series are 5-2 SU/ATS the last seven seasons. The two losses occurred in the series between the Lakers and Celtics in 2008 and 2010, with each team avoiding elimination at home. Gregg Popovich's team looks to finish off another series on the road this postseason after eliminating the Lakers, Warriors, and Grizzlies away from Texas.

VegasInsider.com's Chris David breaks it down from a totals standpoint, "After watching the 'under' cash in the first two games, the 'over' has connected in the last three games of this series thanks to some great shooting, especially in Game 5. The two teams combined for 20 bombs from 3-point land and 40 made free throws. Those are two of the biggest x-factors when playing totals and they both exceeded expectations on Sunday."

David points out that the number has moved up following the three 'overs' in San Antonio, "As expected, the oddsmakers bumped up the number on Game 6 to 190 and that's already moved up to 190 ½. Off a loss in the playoffs, Miami has been great offensively. In this series, they've posted 103 and 109 after the first two setbacks. The Heat's team total is hovering around 99 1/2 points and based on the back-and-forth trend, a lean to the 'over' would be justified."

The important number many people will point to is the 6-0 SU/ATS record by the Heat in the postseason off a loss. Miami won those games by an average of 20.6 points per game, including victories by 19 and 16 points against San Antonio off a defeat. David brings up the popular Zig-Zag theory, which sides with Miami, in Game 6, "If the trend holds true, then we'll see Miami post another double-digit victory in Game 6. It's certainly hard to ignore the pattern but in this business, all good things eventually come to an end. Grabbing points with San Antonio, who is 7-2 on the road in the playoffs, is the smart play in this spot, especially against a Heat team that is 5-6 ATS at home in the postseason."

Even though the Heat has been terrific off a loss recently, the possibility of a decisive Game 7 is a rare occurrence in the Finals according to David, "I think it's pretty funny that the conspiracy theorists are expecting NBA commissioner David Stern to create a Game 7, especially in his last NBA Finals go 'round. What bettors need to realize is that Game 7's don't happen often, especially in the last round. In the last 20 seasons, we only had three Game 7's in the NBA Finals. If you are expecting a decisive battle on Thursday, then you should take the Heat on the adjusted series price (-130). If they win Tuesday, you can get out of your bet on Thursday or even try to middle the Spurs with the points."

Miami opened as a seven-point favorite, while several books have bumped the Heat to 7 ½. The game tips off at 9:00 PM EST and can be seen nationally on ABC.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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