The NBA Finals are slated to start Thursday, June 6, regardless of when the Conference Finals end. By midweek, one half of the Finals field may have already been determined.
San Antonio, behind the Big Three of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, was in position on Monday night to sweep Memphis out of the Playoffs in four games to capture the Western Conference title.
The Spurs have been impressive in winning the first three games of this series. They blew out the Grizzlies at home in Game 1 and blew a huge lead in Game 2 before winning in overtime.
In fact, the Spurs have played only one bad quarter in this series, outscored 29-13 in the opening quarter of game three in Memphis. Looking to avoid falling down 0-3, the Grizzlies started strong on their home court where they were a perfect 5-0 in the Playoffs. But the Spurs overcame Memphis’ torrid start, the game went to overtime and San Antonio took charge, outscoring the Grizz 18-7 in the extra five minutes.
Memphis was a modest 2½ to 3 point favorite to win on Memorial Day to send the series back to San Antonio for a Game 5 on Wednesday. History would be made if the Grizzlies were to come back from an 0-3 deficit to win the series. The prospects against a team as savvy, well coached and experienced as San Antonio are almost nil.
Should there be a fifth game the play would be on San Antonio if the Spurs were laying 4 points or less, and it would take at least plus 7 in order to be interested in backing the Grizzlies.
And should Memphis pull the upset and gain a second straight win over the Spurs to force a Game 6 back in Memphis, the play would be on San Antonio to wrap up the series on the road.
If Memphis were to win three straight and force a Game 7 the above guidelines for a Game 5 would also apply for a Game 7.
The first three games of this series each went OVER the Total but Games 2 and 3 needed overtime. At Totals of 180 or higher the UNDER will be the preferred play for the balance of this series.
Miami regains home court: The Heat lead the Eastern Conference Finals two games to one heading into Tuesday’s fourth game. After losing at home in Game 2, Miami asserted control early in Sunday’s Game 3 in Indiana and won going away 114-96, easily covering as small 2 point road favorites.
That win was Miami’s eighth straight win following a loss since the last time the Heat dropped back to back games in early January.
More impressively, Miami covered in each of those last eight games following a loss with each win by double digits. The average margin of victory in those eight wins has been 20.6!
Miami is a short 2 point road favorite again in Tuesday’s Game 4. If Indiana is to make this a series they must win this game and tie matters at two games apiece. Indiana has shown, with the exception of Game 3, that they are not intimidated by Miami and are worth a play, even on the money line, in Game 4.
Should the series return to Miami tied at two games each, the Heat would be the play in Game 5 if laying single digits. Should Miami be in position to end the series in five games, they would be playable if laying 7 points or less. To play Indiana the Pacers would have to be plus 10 or more.
Miami would be the play if there is a Game 6 back in Indiana, whether they are seeking to end the series or if they happen to be down 3-2.
The OVER is also the preferred Totals play for the duration of this series as long as the line is less than 185.
Heading into Game 4 Miami had played four straight OVERS. In fact, six of the Heat’s last seven games have gone OVER. Indiana’s clinching game against New York also went OVER.
Barring a seventh game next Monday between the Heat and Pacers, we will know the matchups for the NBA Finals when next week’s column is penned.
As we get set to enjoy our Memorial Day barbeques it looks as though Miami will get to defend its Title against San Antonio.
But you just never know. That’s why they play the games. Enjoy!
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]