After it appeared that the Miami Heat were in the driver’s seat of the 2014 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs took control of the series with a Game Three victory.
The No.1 overall seed put together, possibly, the best half in NBA Finals history, scoring 71 points in the first two quarters on 75.8 percent field-goal shooting. The 19-point win gave the Spurs a 2-1 series lead.
With the victory, San Antonio has become the clear favorite to win the title. The LVH Superbook in Las Vegas puts their championship odds at -215. The Heat, who were the favorite before Game Three, come in at +185.
More than a day before Game Four, Miami is giving San Antonio 5.5 points. A loss for the Spurs, though, would still have them in a strong position. Tim Duncan and Co. still has Game Five and Game Seven at home, where they have proven to be dominant. The Heat were undefeated at home in the playoffs, but they weren’t competitive in their Game Three defeat.
According to Chris Bosh, being the underdog might benefit the defending champs.
"I like being the underdog," Bosh told CBS Sports, prior to Game One. "I think the only time they expected us to win, we lost it. So we're right in our wheelhouse. I like having our backs against the wall, I know what these guys are made of. We don't need that support."
The Spurs will be difficult to beat if they continue to get star performances from someone other than their Big Three of Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. In Game Three, Kawhi Leonard was the best player on the floor, scoring 29 points on just 13 shot attempts. Sixteen of those points came in the first 12 minutes of action.
LeBron James has largely carried the Heat in this series. Dwyane Wade and Bosh have both had a negative plus-minus rating in all three contests. Ray Allen is the only Miami bench player to score more than eight points in any of the first three games.
The Heat were in the same position last year, and came through with their backs against the wall. After a blowout loss in Game Three of the 2013 Finals, Miami beat the Spurs by 16 points in San Antonio. Miami’s Big Three combined for 85 points and 30 rebounds.