LeBron James could not figure out the San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals, and he withered in the 2011 NBA Finals. He must stare down his lingering demons in Game 4.
2013 NBA Finals, Game 4:
Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs – Thursday, June 13
Betting line: San Antonio -1.5
Why Miami Will Win
When grappling with NBA playoff basketball, it’s generally recommended to look at the big picture and not focus too much on one game in a best-of-seven battle. Elite betting websites will tell you that while LeBron James has been struggling with his jump shot in this series, he certainly has the capacity to bounce back. Moreover, the bulk of what King James did this past regular season offers plenty of evidence to suggest that his jumper can be mended in time to save the Heat in the Finals.
It’s no secret that LeBron took an already substantial amount of talent and made it even better this season. LeBron scored at least 30 points and hit at least 60 percent of his shots in six straight games this season, setting an NBA record. Yes, LeBron knows how to get to the rim, but that kind of streak depended in large part on LeBron’s improved jump shot. LeBron worked a lot on his jumper in the offseason, trying to make himself that much tougher for any opposing defense to handle. When LeBron is hitting his jumper, there’s really no way to fully shut him down. If James does get his jumper fixed and tweaked to the point where he’s hitting it with regularity, Miami should be able to gain leverage in this game.
The other point that has to be added here from a Miami perspective is that San Antonio point guard Tony Parker does not know how fit he’ll be for Game 4 after injuring his hamstring in Game 3. If Parker is not on the floor, the Spurs will be much more limited at the offensive end – not in terms of their shooting ability, but in terms of their passing and ball movement. One also has to acknowledge that the Spurs aren’t likely to hit 16 threes in a game again, as they did in Game 3 on Tuesday. The limits of LeBron’s struggles and the limits of the Spurs’ excellence point to a Miami bounce-back in Game 4.
Why San Antonio Will Win
Whether you want to become an online betting guru or merely follow sporting competitions from a distance as a selective betting player, you are going to have plenty of reason to go with the Spurs here. In this series, San Antonio is giving LeBron the jump shot in this series because it knows that it is so important to keep him away from both the rim and the free throw line. This is an entirely sound and logical tactic by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, but the mystery for Miami is that LeBron is not hitting midrange or three-point jumpers even though San Antonio is giving him all the space he wants when he’s 18 or more feet from the basket. LeBron, though, is not handling this dynamic well, and it is changing the legal online sports betting equation of the whole series.
LeBron is clearly pressing in this series, calling to mind his strangely disjointed display the last time the Heat played a team from the state of Texas in the NBA Finals, in 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks. LeBron never really broke out of his slump in the middle games of that series. The fact that LeBron has struggled in all three games of this series, not just one or two, makes it entirely reasonable to conclude that James will labor and fail in Game 4 as well.
Who Will Win?
The way LeBron handles this situation will have so much to do with the final outcome – it’s hard to view this game in a different context. LeBron doesn’t have to score 40 points. What he has to do is hit a reasonable percentage of his jumpers in the first three quarters so that the game is close in the fourth quarter. Hitting jumpers early – when the outcome of the game hangs in the balance – will also change the way the Spurs play LeBron defensively. LeBron can then attack the rim, get to the foul line, and find teammates for open shots in the fourth quarter. If he scores 30, hands out at least eight assists, and gets at least 10 foul shots, the Heat should win. Bet on this happening. LeBron’s that good.
NBA Betting Pick: Miami +1.5