Today’s Game (All times are Eastern):
|8:00 PM||Miami Heat||San Antonio Spurs||Heat|
The 2014 NBA Finals shift back to San Antonio with the Spurs holding a commanding 3-1 series lead over the two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. In the history of the NBA Finals every team that has taken a 3-1 series lead has gone on to win the title. San Antonio, who is just one win away from earning the franchise’s fifth NBA championship, can become the 32nd team to take advantage of a 3-1 Finals lead with a victory in Sunday night’s Game 5.
After surrendering home-court advantage in a two-point, 98-96, loss in Game 2 in San Antonio last Sunday, June 8, the Spurs went to Miami and totally dominated the Heat. San Antonio won Games 3 and 4 in Miami by a combined 40 points. In Game 3, it was San Antonio’s offense that destroyed the Heat. And in Game 4, the Spurs defense held Miami to a postseason-low 86 points. In fact, San Antonio’s defense has gotten the job done all series long. The Heat are averaging just 92.8 points through the first four games and have yet to reach the century mark during the Finals.
Prior to a 21-point loss in Thursday night’s Game 4, Miami had gone more than two years without suffering consecutive playoff losses. The last time the Heat lost two straight postseason games—they actually lost three in a row, and that was back in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. Miami went on to win that series and every playoff series it has played in since. If Miami wants to extend this series and keep its hopes of winning a third straight NBA championship alive, the Heat must do all that they can to avoid dropping a third consecutive playoff game.
Absolutely everything is on the line for Miami, and the Heat will have to play with a desperation and urgency that has simply eluded them thus far in this series if they want to extend their season. Facing elimination, the Heat will have to put whatever they have left in the tank on the line in Game 5.
I picked the Spurs to win the series in seven games because I believed the teams were relatively evenly matched. But there is nothing—and I mean nothing—that happened in Games 3 and 4 that suggests these teams are evenly matched. San Antonio held the lead for more than 43 of the 48 minutes of playing time in the two games in Miami and most of the time the lead was 10 points or more.
However, with that being said, each game of a series is separate of all the others, and Game 5 is a new entity in and of itself. So despite San Antonio’s dominance in Miami, the Heat will have a chance to turn things around in Game 5 in San Antonio. Besides, for my original prediction to have any chance at coming to fruition, Miami must win Game 5.
Since falling to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, the Heat have faced five elimination games, including Games 6 and 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals against the Spurs. Miami has won those five games by an average of 13 points. The Heat need to keep that streak alive in their first elimination game of these playoffs if they want to keep their season and any hopes of a three-peat alive.
|San Antonio Spurs 107||Miami Heat 86||Heat||Spurs|
Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 0-1
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 55-33
***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***