Seeds: Miami Heat No. 2; San Antonio Spurs No. 1
Series: Spurs lead 3-1
Schedule for Series: Game 5, Sunday, June 15, 8 p.m. ET (ABC); Game 6*, Tuesday, June 17, 9 p.m. ET (ABC); Game 7*, Friday, June 20, 9 p.m. ET (ABC)
The San Antonio Spurs didn’t head to South Beach for a vacation. Given their dominant performances against the Miami Heat in Games 3 and 4 of the 2014 NBA Finals, though, they may have felt like were on a relaxing team retreat.
Despite entering the season’s final series with a 3-5 road record throughout the 2014 playoffs, San Antonio crushed Miami by a combined 40 points in the past two games.
n order to win a third consecutive championship, LeBron James and Co. will have to make history by becoming the first NBA Finals team to climb back from a 3-1 deficit. They’ll have to win two games in San Antonio to make it happen.
The Heat aren’t dead to rights just yet, but they’re pretty darn close. They still have the best player in the series (James), but his supporting cast will have to carry a significantly bigger load.
Although the term “X-factor” tends to imply an unsung hero whose efforts complement those of the team’s stars, Miami’s new wild card is D-Wade.It’s unfortunate that that’s the state of affairs for Coach Spo, but Wade is battling Father Time as well as San Antonio.The mileage on his knees is stacking up, and while fatigue is an excuse, it’s not a valid one. The Spurs also played an 82-game regular season and faced better competition in the playoffs.
The Spurs were absolutely unstoppable in Games 3 and 4. Popovich slotted Diaw into the starting five, inspired Leonard to look for his offense and watched arguably the most dominant two-game stretch of Finals basketball ever.
Can the Heat dust themselves off following back-to-back drubbings at home? After getting booed by their home fans, no less?
Leonard to continue playing at an elite level. Diaw will also be the catalyst for success as San Antonio’s Swiss Army knife.
More critical than anything, though, will be the performance of the Spurs’ second unit. If guys like Ginobili, Splitter, Patty Mills and even Matt Bonner continue to execute, depth will override Miami’s stars.
SAN ANTONIO TO WIN and to become the new champion tonight