NBA Finals 2013: 5 Things You Need to Know Going into Game 2

Andrew GoldbergContributor IIJune 9, 2013

NBA Finals 2013: 5 Things You Need to Know Going into Game 2

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    Game 1 of the NBA Finals featured a triple-double from Miami Heat forward LeBron James, a near-turnover-turned-game-clinching-basket by Spurs point guard Tony Parker and a whole lot of pressure put on the Miami Heat.

    Will the Heat even up the series? If San Antonio wins tonight, is the series over? How will LeBron James respond? Will Chris Bosh ever show up?

    As you gear up for Game 2 of the NBA Finals tonight, here are five things you need to know to get you ready.

Losing Back-to-Back Games

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    According to SI.com's Ben Golliver, the Miami Heat haven't lost back-to-back games since January 8th and 10th when they lost to Indiana and Portland respectively. In fact, the Heat are 17-3 in the first game after a loss.

    What does that mean for the Heat?

    Well, clearly they know how to play when their backs are up against the wall. They seemingly always respond the best when the odds are stacked against them. Just look at this postseason when they lost in Game 1 to Chicago and came back to win the series 4-1. They also won every game after a loss in the Pacers series as they lost Games 2, 4 and 6, but won Games 3, 5 and 7. 

    Furthermore, here is some more reassurance for Heat fans as pointed out on SI.com.

    And in Miami's "Big Three'' era, being down a game has been no big deal.

    They trailed Chicago 1-0 in the 2011 East finals and won 4-1.

    They trailed Oklahoma City 1-0 in last year's NBA Finals and won 4-1.

    They trailed the Bulls again in this year's second round and won 4-1. The rule even applies when facing other deficits, like when they were down 2-1 to Indiana last year before winning in six games, and when they trailed the Boston Celtics 3-2 in last year's East finals before winning in seven.

    That's a combined record of 17-0 in those series after falling behind.


    If you are a Heat fan or NBA commissioner David Stern, the odds are in the Heat's favor to win tonight's game.

Teams with a 2-0 NBA Finals Lead

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    Let's say the Spurs win Game 2 tonight and take a 2-0 series lead with them going back to San Antonio, what do the statistics say about their chances of winning?

    According to RealClearSports.com, teams with a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals swept their opponents 32 percent of the time, won in six games 44 percent of the time, and won in seven games 12 percent of the time. 

    On the flip side, teams with a 2-0 series lead have lost in six games eight percent of the time and lost in seven games four percent of the time.

    If the Spurs get a 2-0 series lead, they have a great chance of winning their fifth NBA title in the Tim Duncan-Gregg Popovich era.

Teams Facing a 0-2 Series Deficit

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    Let's take a look at the other side of the spectrum. If the Spurs do indeed win tonight in Miami, should the Heat and their faithful hit the panic button? To most outsiders and the casual fan, the answer is simply yes. Also, nothing would excite Cleveland and anti-LeBron/Heat fans more.

    However, the Heat aren't exactly down for the count.

    According to Chris Sheridan on his website sheridanhoops.com, this is a list of the teams that have comeback from a 0-2 series deficit in NBA playoff history.

    Boston (vs. Los Angeles)
    1969
    Finals
    Los Angeles (vs. San Francisco)
    1969
    Western Division Semifinals
    Baltimore (vs. New York)
    1971
    Eastern Conference Finals
    1977
    Finals
    Chicago (vs. New York)
    1993
    Eastern Conference Finals
    1994
    Western Conference Semifinals
    Houston (vs. Phoenix)
    1995
    Western Conference Semifinals
    L.A. Lakers (vs. San Antonio)
    2004
    Western Conference Semifinals
    Dallas (vs. Houston)
    2005
    Western Conference First Round
    Washington (vs. Chicago)
    2005
    Eastern Conference First Round
    Miami (vs. Dallas)
    2006
    Finals
    Utah (vs. Houston)
    2007
    Western Conference First Round
    Cleveland (vs. Detroit)
    2007
    Eastern Conference Finals
    San Antonio (vs. New Orleans)
    2008
    Western Conference Semifinals
    Oklahoma City (vs. San Antonio)
    2012
    Western Conference Finals

    While the Heat certainly do face a hole, it is not insurmountable. However, last year's Oklahoma City Thunder team lost the first two games at San Antonio before winning four straight, three of which were at home. The same goes for the Heat's comeback in the 2006 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

    So while the Heat could come back in this series, it would be tough, especially because the Spurs are 41-7 this season at home, including a 5-2 record this postseason.

LeBron James After Losses

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    LeBron James averages 25.8 points, 6.25 rebounds, 5.5 assists and is shooting 36/72 or .500 from the field in games following a Miami Heat loss in the 2013 postseason. His last two games against Indiana in Games 5 and 7 were some of the more impressive stat lines he has compiled this postseason.

    Game 5

    Date Opponent Result MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OFF DEF REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
    May 30 vs. IND3 W 90 - 79 44 13 - 26 3 - 7 1 - 4 0 8 8 6 2 1 3 1 30

    Game 7

    Date Opponent Result MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OFF DEF REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
    Jun 03 vs. IND3 W 99 - 76 41 8 - 17 1 - 2 15 - 16 2 6 8 4 2 1 2 1 32

    So with Heat fans and the rest of the NBA world watching, look for James to come up with a huge Game 2 and one of his finer efforts to prevent Miami from heading to San Antonio down 0-2.

    *Statistics found here but compiled by myself

Fatigue

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    Both teams are on the older side, but Miami has an advantage in age with their Big Three as opposed to the Big Three of San Antonio. After 10 days off between their last game with the Memphis Grizzlies and the first of the NBA Finals, San Antonio was certainly well rested heading into Game 1. With just two full days off leading up to Game 2, it will be interesting to see how fatigue comes into play for both teams.

    Both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade cited fatigue as a factor during the fourth quarter as the HuffingtonPost reported. Specifically, Wade said this:

    "Obviously, I thought that we were a little fatigued, honestly, in the fourth quarter, looking around," Wade said after the game, responding to a question about late turnovers. "We looked like a team that came off a seven‑game series. I thought we got some shots we wanted. But we were a little careless at times as well. We turned it over."

    James played 42 minutes while Bosh and Wade played 35 and 36 minutes respectively. Meanwhile, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker played 37, 30 and 40 minutes respectively. 

    The Spurs are now playing another game in four days which isn't THAT big of a deal, but it may be, especially for a team that has been used to being off for 10 days and had its older players play long minutes.

    The Heat themselves will obviously welcome the fact that they have played one game while having four days off in the past five days, especially after coming off a grueling seven game series.

    Either way, it is the NBA Finals and both teams will use every ounce of energy in trying to win tonight's game.

The Game Will Likely Be Decided in the 4th Quarter

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    At the start of the fourth quarter, the Heat were up by three with the score at 76-73. Then the Heat squandered the lead and lost 92-88.

    Here is a small breakdown of the Heat's fourth quarter thanks to CBSsports.com  

    Miami shot just over 48 percent in the fourth quarter of regular-season games. In its last seven games, that clip has dropped to 40 percent. More than a few players - LeBron James included - said fighting fatigue, particularly after the seven-game grind that was needed to beat Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, was part of the reason why the Heat shot just 5 for 18 in the fourth quarter of Game 1 against the Spurs.

    San Antonio won the fourth quarter of Game 1 by seven points, 23-16 - turning a three-point deficit into a four-point win.

    More importantly, as the article points out, Wade has to start showing up in the fourth quarter to be the difference. Bum knee and all, he may be the difference between the Heat being tied 1-1 after tonight or the Spurs being up 2-0.

    Wade is averaging 2.3 points in the fourth quarters of this season's playoff games. In 16 appearances during this postseason, he's scored two points or less in the fourth quarter 11 times - with two points, total, in the final 12 minutes of his last three games.

    Lastly, as USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt points out in his article:

    "The Heat led 76-73 early in the fourth quarter but were outscored 19-12 in the final 8:08 — a span in which the Heat shot 3-for-10 from the field, including 0-for-4 on three-pointers, and committed four turnovers."

    Therefore, if Miami is even half as good on offense and is able to save some energy for the fourth quarter, the Heat have a realistic shot of evening the series heading to San Antonio.

     

    Do you have another factor that you think will be key for tonight's game? Leave it in the comments section or follow @gbthegoalie12 and tweet it at me.