NBA Finals Game 7 Preview

heatspursSAN ANTONIO SPURS at MIAMI HEAT Line & Total: Miami -6 & 189.5

After more than 100 games for each team this season, the Spurs and Heat will finally conclude the 2012-13 NBA campaign in the 17th Game 7 in NBA Finals history on Thursday night.

San Antonio let a golden opportunity slip away in Game 6, leading by five points with 28 seconds left in regulation before allowing two three-pointers that sent the game into overtime where Miami won 103-100 to force Thursday’s decisive Game 7. LeBron James and Ray Allen both made their threes in the final minute of regulation after offensive rebounds, and the team was able to hold on when Chris Bosh blocked a potential game-tying three at the end of overtime. Although the Spurs dominated points in the paint (60-36), they made just 43.5% FG and 5-of-18 threes (28%) and committed more turnovers (15) than assists (13). Miami connected on a strong 47% from the field, including a blistering 11-of-19 threes, shooting considerably worse on two-point field goals (44%) than threes (58%) for the second straight game. The Heat improved to 46-7 SU (87%) at home this season, but the non-cover dropped them to 27-26 ATS in the 53 games at AmericanAirlines Arena. San Antonio is 30-21 SU and 28-23 ATS (54%) on the road this season, including 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in playoff away games. Miami is now 5-9 ATS (36%) in its past 14 games, including 0-6 (SU and ATS) following an SU win. On the flip side, San Antonio is 23-5 SU (82%) and 17-11 ATS (61%) on the heels of an SU loss this season, including a perfect 4-0 (SU and ATS) in the playoffs. The Heat have been the better wager with just one day of rest though at 36-29 ATS (55%), while the Spurs are just 30-31 ATS (49%) with one off-day in between games.

The Spurs enter Game 7 with record of 15-5 SU and 14-6 ATS (70%) in the postseason, outscoring opponents by 7.7 PPG, and outshooting them 47% FG to 43% FG over these 20 contests. But after committing just four turnovers in the Game 1 win, the club has been much more sloppy with the basketball, producing 83 miscues (16.6 TOPG). In the past two contests, San Antonio has just as many turnovers as assists (34 each). Defensively, this club has allowed 93.3 PPG on 43% FG (37% threes) in the postseason, but has not been able to stop Miami at times during the NBA Finals, allowing 97.3 PPG on an efficient 46% FG and 45% threes. The Spurs have produced just 6.2 SPG and 4.5 BPG in the NBA Finals, a big drop-off from the 8.3 SPG and 5.4 BPG in the first three rounds of the postseason. Rebounding hasn’t been a huge factor in this series, as San Antonio has 250 boards (62 offensive) over the six games, while the Heat have 235 rebounds (58 offensive). But the best big man in the series has clearly been PF Tim Duncan (18.0 PPG, 12.2 RPG in series) who completely dominated the first half of Game 6 with 25 points on 11-of-13 FG. He seemed to tire down the stretch with zero points in the final 21+ minutes, but still finished with 30 points and 17 rebounds (five offensive), boosting his NBA Finals career averages to 21.7 PPG (48% FG), 13.9 RPG, 2.9 APG and 2.7 BPG. PG Tony Parker (16.7 PPG, 6.8 APG in series) made some big shots near the end of the regulation and finished with eight assists and zero turnovers. But Parker was off the mark all night, making just 6-of-23 shots. In the three contests at Miami this series, he’s made just 36% FG. Like Parker, SG Manu Ginobili (10.5 PPG, 4.2 APG in series) followed up a brilliant Game 5 (24 pts, 10 ast) with a stinker in Game 6. Not only did Ginobili commit a game-high eight turnovers, but he made just 2-of-5 shots and missed a key free throw with 28 seconds remaining. And just like Parker, in three road games in the NBA Finals, Ginobili has made only 36% from the floor. SG Danny Green (15.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG in series) has already set an NBA Finals record with 26 made three-pointers during the series, but he was ice-cold on Tuesday night, making just 1-of-7 FG and 1-of-5 threes. His three total points marked his first single-digit scoring game of the NBA Finals. Green is still connecting on a blistering 61% threes (26-of-43) for the series though. SF Kawhi Leonard (13.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG in series) had his best performance of the NBA Finals in Game 6, netting 22 points (9-of-14 FG), 11 rebounds and three steals. He’s now shooting a smoking-hot 62% from the floor (26-of-42) over his past four contests. SG Gary Neal (10.2 PPG in series) has cooled off in his past two contests, making just 3-of-11 shots (1-of-5 threes) for a total of seven points. In the two games prior to that (Games 4-5), Neal averaged 18.5 PPG on 13-of-24 FG (54%) and 9-of-14 threes.

Miami is 15-7 SU and 11-11 ATS this postseason, and the offense is finally starting to gel. After failing to reach 100 points in five straight games, the Heat have surpassed the century mark in four of the past five contests, averaging 99.2 PPG on 47% FG and a ridiculous 48.4% threes (44-of-91) during these five games. They continue to protect the basketball with great care, piling up 22.3 APG and just 11.7 TOPG (1.91 Ast/TO ratio) in the NBA Finals. But the defense has been sagging, as Miami has allowed 99.3 PPG on 46% FG (42% threes) to San Antonio this series, including 107.0 PPG in the past two games. That’s a big drop-off from the first three playoff series when Heat opponents scored just 87.6 PPG on 43% FG (33% threes). The three-point shot is really burning Miami, as San Antonio has made a robust 48-of-108 threes (44.4%) over the past five games. SF LeBron James (23.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 7.5 APG in series) continues to be the team’s best, and most consistent player in the postseason. After scoring just 14 points on 3-of-12 shooting and a minus-14 rating in the first three quarters of Game 6, James tallied 18 points on 8-of-14 FG with a +13 rating once the fourth quarter began. He finished with a triple-double of 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, becoming just the fourth player in NBA Finals history with a game of at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. James is now averaging an eye-popping 27.9 PPG (49% FG), 10.0 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.9 SPG and 1.4 BPG in his past seven home games. Speaking of seven, in Game 7’s James has looked for his offense a lot more than his passing. In four career Game 7 performances, he’s averaged 33.8 PPG (46% FG) and 8.3 RPG, but just 3.5 APG. In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Pacers, James scored 32 points (8-of-17 FG, 15-of-16 FT) with eight rebounds and four assists. SG Dwyane Wade (19.0 PPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0 SPG in series) wasn’t a huge factor in Game 6, scoring just 14 points on 6-of-15 FG with four assists and three turnovers. In the two previous games, Wade had 28.5 PPG, 7.0 APG and just four miscues. However, Wade’s NBA Finals career numbers (23 games) are truly remarkable, where he’s tallied 25.8 PPG (48% FG), 6.0 RPG, 4.8 APG and 1.9 SPG. After a horrible road trip in San Antonio (4.3 PPG on 4-of-19 FG), PG Mario Chalmers (10.0 PPG in series) found his stroke again at home, netting 20 points on 7-of-11 FG, including 4-of-5 threes. In three games in Miami this series, Chalmers has 15.7 PPG on 49% FG and 8-of-15 threes (53%). PF Chris Bosh (13.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.2 SPG in series) has been pretty consistent in the NBA Finals with four double-doubles in the six games, attempting between 10 and 16 shots in each contest. He had two giant blocks in the final 32 seconds of overtime and it was his offensive rebound with less than 10 seconds in regulation that set up the game-tying three. SG Ray Allen (12.3 PPG in series) made that clutch shot, but that was the only three he made all night (1-for-3). However, the veteran has been on fire throughout the NBA Finals, draining 60% FG (25-of-42) and 60% threes (12-of-20). SF Mike Miller (6.2 PPG in series) has been even hotter in this series, connecting on 13-of-17 shots (77%), including 11-of-14 threes (79%).

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