This particular series to decide the NBA 2013 league champions has certainly been an interesting one as Miami Heat heads to San Antonio Spurs for game 5 (Sunday, 8pm ET).
As nearly six-point road underdogs, the San Antonio Spurs escaped American Airlines Arena in Miami with a 92-88 win in game one. San Antonio’s Tim Duncan led all scorers with 20 points and added 14 rebounds as well as the Spurs crashed the boards. Miami’s Lebron James led all players with 18 rebounds and had a triple double in the loss.
In game two, Miami received double-digit production from four of their five starters and turned the ball over just six times as they cruised to a 19-point victory at home, beating the spread by nearly 14 points satisfying bettors that had followed our advice and placed their money behind the favored Heat.
Continuing to trade games, the Spurs roared back in game three in front of their hometown crowd. Behind an absolutely demoralizing and complete victory, the Spurs limited the Heat to just 77 points on just 76 attempted field goals. San Antonio outrebounded Miami by 16 and outscored them by 36 as they, as a team, shot 50% from beyond the arc. San Antonio’s Danny Green led all scorers with 27 points on a 9-15 night from the field including 7-9 from three-point range. Off of the bench, Gary Neal added 24 points and was 6-10 from three-point range.
Down 2-1 and faced with a must-win game, the Heat benefited from the tandem scoring of James and Dwayne Wade who combined to shoot 58% from the field for a total of 65 points. The Heat defense held the Spurs top-scorer in Duncan to just 15 points and finished the game with a 109-93 victory.
So now with the series tied 2-2, with just one game left to play at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, the Spurs are hoping that the pattern of trading games continues so that they can leave Texas with the lead. I would even go so far to call this a must-win for San Antonio as the Heat have not lost back-to-back games at all this season. Therefore leaving San Antonio with the lead would favor the Heat tremendously.
Despite three of the four games being blowouts, the sportsbooks have Miami favored by just 1.5 points and actually opened with the teams being evenly matched. The over/under is set for 187.5, the lowest mark in this series since game one’s 186.5.
Who Has the Advantage?
Statistically, neither team really has a significant edge. In terms of points per game, the Spurs are outscoring the Heat by just .14 this series. In terms of points allowed, the Heat are faring slightly better, giving up 1.61 less than the Spurs. San Antonio is outrebounding Miami by a little less than three but Miami is winning the battle on the offensive glass by just .12. Miami is also outshooting San Antonio, but again it is by a small margin of just 1.5 percent. They are also doing better from three-point range, averaging .65 more a game.
So what do these stats show? Pretty much nothing. Because of the way this series has gone, with one team having a great game and then the other team following up in the same manner, the miniscule statistical differences really are negligible.
Of course the Spurs are aided by the fact that to this point the teams have traded games which should mean San Antonio wins game five. The Spurs are also 35-6 at home in the regular season and 7-2 in the playoffs, another sign that could show favorability to the Spurs.
But perhaps the biggest stat that jumps off of the page is the fact that San Antonio is 13-3 SU in its last 16 games when playing Miami at home. By that same contrast, the Heat have managed to win just three of their last 16 games at the AT&T Center.
(MIA) Dwayne Wade vs. (SAN) Tony Parker
If you look at the Miami and San Antonio “Big Three” in the regular season, you will notice that both teams played to relatively similar stats. The postseason however has told a bit of a different story and that is namely when it comes to the second in commands of Wade and Tony Parker.
The 31-year-old Parker averaged 20.3 points, 7.6 assists and 3 rebounds per game during the regular season. During the playoffs however, Parker is averaging 20.9 points, 7.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. As you can see, the stats really aren’t that different.
But what is different is Parker’s production in the Spurs’ first three playoff series as opposed to the NBA Finals. In fact, after four games, Parker, like Wade, has been considerably absent in this series to decide the championship.
After averaging 22.3 points in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, 22.5 in the Semifinals and 24.5 in the Finals, Parker seemed to be getting better with each series. And with how hot he was, it certainly did not look to fare well for the Heat who had largely been forced to rely solely on James as Wade and Chris Bosh were underperforming.
However, Parker’s ailing ankle began to bother him and it has affected what he has been able to do in the NBA Finals. He is averaging just 13.8 points so far and in game three had a 2013 playoff low, six points. In fact, it was the only game so far in this postseason in which Parker has scored in single digits.
Unfortunately for the Spurs as Parker has seemingly cooled off, Wade might finally be catching fire.
In the regular season, the similarly 31-year-old Wade averaged 21.2 points, 5.1 assists and 5 rebounds. In the postseason, he has so far averaged just 15.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds. In the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, he averaged 13.7 points, in the Semifinals, just 12.6 and in the Finals, 15.4. So far in the NBA Finals, Wade is averaging 18.8 points, including 32 in the most recent game, which is his playoff high.
So if you are trying to figure out who will win game five, look no further than the production from Parker and Wade. Because as James and Duncan will likely continue to lead their teams, it is the help from Parker and Wade that should make the difference.
The recent trend seems to favor Wade and if he in fact is getting hot and his 32 points weren’t just a fluke, then it could be a long rest of the series for the Spurs.
Heat at Spurs Betting Picks Conclusion
A 1.5 point spread is hard to work with, but I do think that the Spurs will find a way to get the win. Beyond Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs seem to have a better supporting cast. San Antonio has also gotten hot with the three, which should aid them against Miami’s defensive formation. So pick the Spurs to get the win and best the spread and take the under as well since in 18 of the last 25 games between these two, the total has fallen under the predicted total.