The only way is up, surely, for the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night as they try to take a 2-1 lead over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. After their Game Two humbling, they surely can’t be worse.
The Spurs, despite that 103-84 hammering on Sunday, are 1.78 to take a series lead with Miami at 2.06 to edge ahead. But they’ll need to improve in almost every area, limiting their turnovers and shaking Tim Duncan back to life following a rare off-key performance from their future Hall of Famer.
Duncan had just nine points last time as one body after another was thrown in his way and, for once, his slump was mirrored by Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Bad times.
Yet it was the flurry of errors from San Antonio that truly cost them the chance to build on the momentum of their narrow Game One win. Back at home, where they were 35-6 during the regular season, Parker should be more secure. Although Miami took victory on their last visit, it was a late season misnomer with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sitting out. Before that, the Heat had only ever won twice in the Alamo but they now have three consecutive appearances in Texas to chase even more.
James had to rely on his team-mates for win number four and is averaging just 17.5 points in the Finals so far, almost nine below his season mark. As excellent as he has been about sharing the load with his Heat supporting case, with the next three games on the road, we should expect more but he is still 1.85 to score under 26 points tonight with Wade at 1.85 to go for over 16.5.
History suggests that a blowout victory in an NBA Finals points to the eventual victor. If Miami play as well as they did two days ago, and the Spurs as poorly, then there’s only one outcome. But two routs in a row? That’s just not the San Antonio Way.
Best Bet: Take San Antonio on the handicap of -2 over Miami at 1.91.