The 2014 NBA playoffs have been an exciting mix of intense physical action and finesse basketball plays thus far, and the championship series between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs is the perfect embodiment of what the postseason is all about.
After two games in this series, both Miami and San Antonio have each won once.
The Heat have more pure talent on their roster with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but no organization in the league is more dedicated to fundamental team play than Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and the entire Spurs roster.
Here is the updated schedule and odds as Game 3 of the NBA championship approaches.
|Thursday, June 5||Game 1: Spurs beat Heat, 110-95||--||--|
|Sunday, June 8||Game 2: Heat beat Spurs, 98-96||--||--|
|Tuesday, June 10||Game 3: Spurs at Heat||9 p.m.||ABC|
|Thursday, June 12||Game 4: Spurs at Heat||9 p.m.||ABC|
|Sunday, June 15||Game 5: Heat at Spurs||8 p.m.||ABC|
|Tuesday, June 17||Game 6: Spurs at Heat*||9 p.m.||ABC|
|Friday, June 20||Game 7: Heat at Spurs*||9 p.m.||ABC|
Source: NBA.com *if necessary
Now that you've seen the schedule, here are the latest championship odds.
|San Antonio Spurs||1-2|
Breaking Down Spurs vs. Heat Game 3
After the air conditioning broke during Game 1 and the San Antonio Spurs took the victory, the Miami Heat bounced back in Game 2 on Sunday night and stole a hard-fought win on the road.
Now all the attention has turned to Game 3 in Miami.
NBA legend Magic Johnson joins the rest of the fans in his love for the tenacity of the teams in this series and their genuine distaste for one another:
I personally like that the Spurs & Heat don't like each other. It will make the NBA Finals exciting!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 3, 2014
Unlike the Heat, San Antonio thrives on getting multiple players involved throughout the game and not depending on anyone to do too much. Miami is built around three players, and when they struggle, the team fails to register the victory.
As seen in Game 1, the cramps that forced James to the sideline were enough to derail the Heat’s chances of winning, but the organization still possesses the power to steal the show, just as it did on Sunday night.
One of the biggest factors in Miami’s Game 2 victory was Chris Bosh.
After his 18-point performance in Game 2, Bosh told Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.com about his play and why he stood out in this matchup:
Sometimes, in this offense, the coaches give me the freedom to be aggressive and make the right plays. Coach told me, 'I like your aggressiveness. Keep being aggressive.' I was like, 'Aight.' You tell me once, you don't have to tell me anymore. So I just wanted to keep it up.
It is clear that the Heat have the talent needed to beat the Spurs, but San Antonio will not go down without a fight.
Which team will win this series?
With the ability to control the pace of the game and the willingness to defend against each of Miami’s top players, San Antonio will be looking to steal the Game 3 victory from the Heat and put the defending champions on the ropes.
If Duncan, Ginobili and Tony Parker can lead the talented cast of role players into Miami with confidence, there is no reason to believe the Spurs won’t take back home-court advantage and leave the Heat reeling.
Game 3’s Predicted Winner: San Antonio Spurs, 98-94
*Stats via NBA.com.