The NBA Finals has now become a best-of-5 with Miami having the home court advantage in the sense that they would host three if the series goes the distance.
San Antonio, however, would host a seventh and deciding game if the series is tied at three games apiece. Either team could be up 2-0 in this series.
Game 1 will be most remembered for LeBron James’ cramps which resulted in the NBA’s best player to miss most of the fourth quarter including the final four plus minutes when the game was decided. The final score of San Antonio 110, Miami 95 is most deceiving as James final departure came when the Heat’s deficit was just two points.
Earlier, Miami had a double digit lead in the fourth quarter before “Crampgate” surfaced, caused by the air conditioning failure at the arena. (Has the phrase “ventillationgate” been coined yet?).
Game 2 could have gone either way as well. Miami entered the fourth quarter trailing 78-77. The fourth quarter was largely a back and forth battle featuring missed free throws at key points. James responded to the ignorant criticism that “he should have played through the cramps” with a huge game (35 points, 10 rebounds).
After Game 1 went OVER the total by 7 points the second game stayed UNDER by 5. Tuesday’s Game 3 has Miami a 4 point home favorite with the total at 198.
Unlike the past few decades the format has changed such that Miami will not host the next three games but just games 3 and 4 (under the reinstated 2-2-1-1-1 format).
It would not be surprising if the teams split the two games in Miami and become a best of 3 series. These teams are very evenly matched and very well coached. Both teams have multiple scoring options. Through three quarters Miami has outscored the Spurs 155-152 for the two games.
San Antonio had the best road record in the NBA during the regular season, 30-11. No. other team won more than 25 road games (Miami was 22-19). The Spurs are 3-5 on the road in the Playoffs (2-6 ATS) and just 1-2 (both SU and ATS) as Playoff road underdogs.
Miami is a perfect 8-0 SU and an impressive 6-2 ATS in their 8 home Playoff games through the Conference Finals.
A conservative approach to playing games three and four in Miami would be to sit on the sidelines in Game 3 and play the straight up loser in that game to cover the points in Game 4.
A more aggressive approach would be to take the Spurs plus the 4 points (or more) and then also play the Game 3 loser in Game 4 (to be played on Thursday).
The UNDER remains the preferred way to look first in playing the total for the balance of the series, especially at Totals of 196 or greater.
Game 5 will be back in San Antonio on Sunday with potential Games 6 and 7 scheduled for next Tuesday, June 17 and the following Friday, June 20.
If the series is tied 2-2 heading back to San Antonio the play would be on the Spurs at – 3 or less or on Miami +4.5 or more.
If either team sweeps the games in Miami to take a 3-1 lead into Game 5 the play would be on the trailing team with Miami playable at a line of as low as – 1 or the Spurs as high as – 7. This series should go at least 6 games.
If indeed there is a Game 6 next Tuesday it, and a potential Game 7, will be previewed in next week’s column. If not, it’s baseball only.
The percentages suggest you’ll be reading my final NBA column next week.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]