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NBA Finals 2014: Full Preview and Prediction for Spurs vs. Heat Game 4

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NBA Finals 2014: Full Preview and Prediction for Spurs vs. Heat Game 4
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs would be foolish to feel comfortable with their 2014 NBA Finals series lead.

They defeated the Miami Heat Tuesday night by the score of 111-92, putting them back up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

San Antonio shot 59.4 percent from the field—86.7 percent in the first quarter alone. Against shooting that efficient, only a miracle could have saved Miami. The Spurs also shot 58.8 percent in Game 1, so it isn't as if this was a fluke performance.

The Heat, though, are more than capable of storming back. Of all teams, San Antonio should know this better than any.

In Game 3 of the 2013 NBA Finals, the Spurs slaughtered Miami 113-77 to take a 2-1 series lead. It was LeBron James' third straight game scoring fewer than 19 points. This, and historic trends such as ESPN Stats & Info tweeted Tuesday, were all signs pointing to an inevitable San Antonio title.

Then the Heat blew out the Spurs 109-93 in Game 4. Miami won the series in seven games, with James averaging 31.8 points in the final four.

This is all to say that the Larry O'Brien Trophy is still up for grabs in 2014.

Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio with 29 points Tuesday, marking a career high for him. The Spurs can't rely on that nightly—he scored 18 points in Games 1 and 2 combined.

Which team will win Game 4?

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Miami's weaknesses will be put under a microscope before Game 4. James and Dwyane Wade turned the ball over 12 times—as many as San Antonio's entire team. According to ESPN, Chris Bosh only touched the ball 12 times in Game 3.

These are easily correctable mistakes, which obviously haven't haunted the Heat the past three years. Miami hasn't lost back-to-back games in the postseason since 2012, and it hasn't lost back-to-back postseason games at home since 2011.

Fittingly, those back-to-back home losses came in the finals against the Dallas Mavericks, who went on to win the championship. Losing back-to-back home games for the first time since should almost definitely cost the Heat another ring.

But anyone who has watched basketball the past three years should know that James isn't going down that easily.

Game 4 Prediction: Miami by four.

 

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.

 

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