On Sunday night, the Miami Heat avoided starting out the 2013 NBA Finals in disastrous fashion. The No.1 seed from the East showed why they’ve been the best team in basketball all year with a 103-84 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. The win evened up the series at 1-1 with Game Three approaching on Tuesday.
Miami played like the overwhelming favorites that they’ve been throughout the regular season and playoffs. After bouncing back from their Game One loss, the Heat are expected to win the title for a second straight year. According to the online betting Web site Bovada.lv, Miami’s odds of winning the championship are set at -175. San Antonio comes in at +155 underdogs.
The Heat might be the favorites in the series, but the Spurs will be expected to win the next couple of contests. Games Three through Five will take place in San Antonio because of the 2-3-2 NBA Finals format. For Game Three, the Spurs are two-point favorites at most Las Vegas casinos. It’s the first time in the 2013 playoffs that Miami isn’t favored in a game.
In Game Two, the Heat pulled away in the late third and early fourth quarter with a 33-5 run. LeBron James was the main catalyst for the blowout, as he made his final five field goal attempts and sparked the team with brilliant defensive plays. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker failed to match their performances from Game One, combining to score just 22 points.
Through two games, San Antonio has done a good job of forcing James to defer to his teammates. The MVP managed to record a triple-double in Game One, but he’s only averaging 17.5 points per contest, which is more than nine less than his season’s average. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will have to give James more help in order to win in San Antonio. Neither player has topped 17 points in the series.
In Game One, Parker shot 50 percent from the field and outplayed James in the fourth quarter. He may have to put up a similar performance in Game Three for the Spurs to take the series advantage. Because of the blowout, Duncan and Parker only combined for 63 minutes, while Manu Ginobili played just 18. They should be well rested on Tuesday.
Despite the Game Two result, it’s hard to imagine either team pulling away early in Game Three. Considering that the Spurs will be at home with a deeper team, they will have the slight advantage to take the series lead.
Prediction: San Antonio 97, Miami 92