The Miami Heat will bid to level the NBA Finals at 1-1 on Sunday night with a payback victory over the San Antonio Spurs. But after Thursday’s 92-88 shocker at home, are the defending champions already on the ropes?
Not just yet. In Game 1, they out-rebounded the Spurs and shot a higher percentage. All they need, you might say, is to get more shots in Game 2 and their problems will be solved. But they also need better shots.
Chris Bosh was 0-4 from three-point range and there’s an argument to say he should stay well away from outside the arc. Although LeBron James insists Miami won’t win the series if he dominates the ball, there’s no way that the best player in the league should only shoot 16 times.
Game 2 will be a different beast. "We're not a team that really says too much this is a must-win game, but this is a must-win game for us," said Dwyane Wade. "We have to win this game at home."
The Heat haven’t lost consecutive games at the American Airlines Arena all season and they’re 1.35 favourites to win out tonight, with San Antonio at 3.27 to go up 2-0. After each of their 10 losses since mid-January, Miami have won the next game by an average of 19.9 points.
However, the Spurs are no ordinary opponent. They have claimed seven successive play-off victories on the road and they’re very good value at +6 on the handicap at 1.91.
Having committed just four turnovers last time out, there’s plenty to like about the manner in which they resisted the pressure off the Heat. And with 2-3 days off during this campaign, their winning percentage is 88.2%, a shade above Miami’s.
Presently, San Antonio are 8.50 to pull off an improbable 4-0 sweep with the James & Co. at 4.50 to win the Finals 4-3. But if they want to defend their title, one victory is a good place to start if the champs want to turn up the heat.
Best Bet: Take over the top scoring line of 194.5 in Miami-San Antonio at 2.85
Follow Mark Woods' NBA betting tips every day