The Miami Heat put themselves in a huge hole by losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals at home, but this series is still far from over.
Over the past two playoff seasons, the Heat have shown they can battle adversity. So, it would be foolish to expect this franchise to go quietly. This series still figures to be a serious battle. Here are three factors that will determine which team winds up on top.
Containing Tony Parker
Tony Parker is instrumental to the Spurs' offense. His penetration quickly breaks down a defense, which leads to easy points for Parker, or open looks for his teammates.
Mario Chalmers does not have the quickness to keep Parker out of the lane. So, as we saw in Game 1, the Heat will sometimes opt to put LeBron James on Parker. James offers much stiffer resistance, but the problem is, it isn't really possible to guard Parker one-on-one.
The Spurs run Parker off an endless series of screens.
This puts the strain on team defense, and it means the Heat can't pay too much attention to Parker, because he will get the ball to any open player. The Heat need someone to step up down low to keep Parker out of the lane, and keep their rotations quick and tight on the rest of the court.
Chris Bosh's Shooting
Chris Bosh is struggling. There's no hiding it. While he's picked up his intensity over the Heat's last two games, he still has not found his shooting touch, and if Bosh isn't hitting his jumper, he offers little benefit to the Heat.
With the Spurs' length down low, Bosh, who is not a good post player to begin with, isn't going to make a big impact around the rim. So, Bosh has to hit his jumpers.
Besides offering up his own scoring, this will help stretch out the floor and open things up for LeBron and Dwyane Wade to slash to the rim for easy buckets.
Which will be higher in for the series?
The Spurs took Game 1 despite hitting just 30.4 percent of the 23 three-pointers they attempted. This wasn't a case of the Heat forcing the Spurs into misses, either. Uncharacteristically, the Spurs were clanking open threes.
The Spurs will undoubtedly improve that three-point shooting as the series progresses. For the year, they hit 35.8 percent of their threes.
However, if the Spurs continue to struggle from distance, it will derail the entire offense. San Antonio's confidence will dwindle, and the Heat will be able to focus more attention onto Parker.
San Antonio must start hitting their open shots to keep Miami's defense honest.