San Antonio vs Miami Handicapping
LeBron James is LeBron James, and Tim Duncan is perhaps the most consistent big man in the last three decades in the NBA. So both the Heat and Spurs pretty much knew that their stars would bring the goods in these Finals.
Miami Heat (2-2) at San Antonio Spurs (2-2)
Sunday, June 16
AT&T Center, San Antonio
8 p.m. EST
Spread – Heat -1.5
O/U – 188
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But the way series has shaken down, the spotlight has also shone brightly on other players.
Danny Green’s out-of-nowhere 7-for-9 shooting from 3-point territory in Game 3 gave San Antonio a huge boost a 2-1 series lead, then in Game 4 the Dwyane Wade of old emerged for the Heat – 32 points and six steals more than got the job done, and the Spurs had no answers as Miami evened things up with a 16-point win that wasn’t even that close.
Seems like everyone on both teams has had a breakthrough game that has impacted the series – everyone, that is, except Manu Ginobili.
Tne Spurs proved in Games 1 and 3 that they don’t need Ginobili firing on all cylinders to win, but SA coach Gregg Popovich hopes that he can get something – anything – for his top sub.
Ginobili did have 13 points and one turnover in the opener, but even then shot only 4 for 11 from the floor. He followed that up with a 2-for-5 (5 points) in the Game 2 loss, and in the two games in San Antonio is a combined 4 for 12 for 12 points. Ginobili has been sloppy with the ball as he often has to deal with the defense of James.
Fact is, Ginobili is 35 and he’s starting to realize that he can’t do the things that he once did on the court.
“That’s what it has been all year,” Ginobili said after Game 4. “I haven’t scored 30 points a game. I averaged 10. I wish I could score more, but it is not happening. I gotta try to do other stuff. I gotta move the ball.
If my shot is not falling, I gotta be sharp feeding the bigs and finding the shooters.
… I don’t have to force the issue.
That’s not what I do.
That’s not what I am asked to do.”
Miami is hardly cooperating. When Ginobili is on the court and the Heat ramp up their defense, it’s not a pretty sight. In Game 2 Ginobili’s three turnovers came at times when Miami went into its frenetic half-court lockdown defense, helping fuel the Heat’s crazy 33-5 eight-minute run that breathed life into the series.
With Tony Parker’s hammie on thin ice, the Spurs are hoping against hope that Ginobili can turn back the clock for a few games.
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We expected close games, and we’ve gotten three blowouts out of four as the losing teams’ adjustments have paid off. With the Finals reduced to a best-of-three, the series will now turn on whether James goes nuts in two of the three, or SA controls him (and Wade) somewhat and executes its offense at near-peak efficiency.
Liking SA to keep this game close and low-scoring, and get it done in the fourth period.
Play is on the under after two overs have bumped the number up a bit, to 188.