Knotted up at one game apiece, the Miami Heat will visit the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, June 11, for a pivotal Game 3 that will give one team a huge advantage in the NBA Finals.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, since the start of the NBA's 2-3-2 format in 1985, the team that wins Game 3 goes on to win the series 92.3 percent of the time:
Trends are meant to be broken, but it's clear the team that wins on Tuesday night will be in the driver's seat to win the NBA Finals.
Here's what you need to know in order to catch every minute of the action, and afterwards it's time to take a look at the biggest X-factor for both teams.
When: Tuesday, June 11, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Radio: ESPN Radio online, or check your local listings.
Streaming: ESPN 3
Miami Heat: Chris Bosh
Bosh has disappeared at times for the Heat during the team's playoff run.
In Game 1, he scored 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting and struck out in four attempts from behind the arc. The points, on their own, aren't the issue here. The issue is that Bosh took way too many bad shots.
Additionally, Bosh was only able to secure five rebounds, due to the fact that he took too many perimeter shots and took himself out of the paint.
In Game 2, Bosh dialed down his shooting a bit and actually put together a much more effective overall performance. He scored 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting, hauled in 10 rebounds and dished out four assists.
ESPN Stats & Info pointed out after the game that the Heat have won 30 straight games when Bosh hits on at least 50 percent of his shots:
Quality over quantity. It never ceases to amaze how often that old adage proves true.
Bosh is the key to Miami defeating the Spurs. If he can continue to put together efficient performances like he did in Game 2, the Heat will win the series.
San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker
When Tony Parker struggles, the Spurs are a completely different team than when he's firing on all cylinders. He struggled badly in Game 2, and his inability to make shots and maintain possession of the ball led to the blowout loss.
Looking back at Game 1, it's clear that the Spurs won the game because they only turned the ball over four times.
Parker was incredibly efficient running San Antonio's offense, and even with a superb effort by him the Spurs won the game by just four points—the exact disparity between the Heat's eight turnovers and the Spurs' four.
Every possession is precious in the playoffs.
Parker turned the ball over five times in Game 2, and he also struggled from the field with a 5-of-14 shooting performance.
Another poor performance by Parker will doom the Spurs in this series.
But if he shows up and plays smart, sharp basketball, then the Spurs will have an excellent chance of absorbing anything the Heat throw their way on Tuesday night.
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