The Miami Heat stole home-court advantage in the 2014 NBA Finals with a victory in Game Two. Now, the series shifts to AmericanAirlines Arena, where LeBron James and company haven’t lost in the playoffs.
"We are in a tough situation because we've got to go to Miami and we've got to get one," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said after his team lost in San Antonio. "We don't want to come back here 3-1 down. It's very hard to overcome that. Definitely going to be a great challenge for the team to play in an arena like that and having to win."
The Spurs find themselves in the same situation that the Heat were in last year. Miami split the first two games of the Finals at home, and eventually lost Game Three on the road. However, they did go on to win the series.
In the series opener, the Spurs took advantage when James’s cramps forced him out of the contest. The four-time MVP didn’t suffer from any injury in Game Two, where he scored 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Heat have relied largely on James in the first two games. Even in Miami’s Game Two victory, the defending champs were outscored when Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were on the floor. The Heat were 11 points better than the Spurs in James’s 38 minutes of action.
Despite Bosh’s poor plus-minus rating, he made, perhaps, the biggest shot of Game Two. His three-pointer with 1:17 remaining in regulation gave Miami the lead for good. In the 2014 playoffs, Bosh is shooting a career-high 33.5 percent from behind the arc. That’s much improved from his 15.4 percent three-point shooting last year, or his 8.8 percent shooting in 2012.
The big man has received his share of criticism since joining two of the league’s best players in Miami, but he hasn’t let it affect his quest to win another ring.
"I don't really care about criticism," Bosh said after Game Two. "If it doesn't help me, then I don't listen to it. Throughout my career, it's changed, ever since I've gotten here, but you just have to put that behind you. Everybody gets criticized, and I understand that. I'm not immune to it. But I think it makes you stronger as a person, and I believe in my craft. I work hard at my game and that's all that matters."
Tony Parker leads the Spurs through two games, averaging 20 points. Tim Duncan has recorded four straight double-doubles.
Player To Watch: LeBron James
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Place: AmericanAirlines Arena
TV Channel: ABC
Online Stream: WatchESPN
Point Spread: Miami by 4.5 points
Prediction: Heat over Spurs, 103-97