The San Antonio Spurs stole the show in Game 3 of the 2014 NBA Finals, knocking off the Miami Heat, 111-92, but the playoffs are far from over for these two teams.
Miami still boasts the most talented player in the league with LeBron James, and with the right help from Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Heat roster, the team can climb back into this series and push San Antonio.
On the other hand, the Spurs see blood in the water with the 2-1 series lead.
Here is the full updated schedule for the 2014 NBA Finals, championship odds and a preview of Game 4.
|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 beat Heat, 111-92||--||--|
|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, check out the latest championship odds.
|San Antonio Spurs||1-2|
Breaking Down Game 4
After three games in the championship series, the San Antonio Spurs have the 2-1 advantage over the Miami Heat, but basketball fans know that a star as talented as James will not go down without a fight.
San Antonio won the first game in unusual fashion when the air conditioning in the AT&T Center broke down and forced the temperature in the building through the roof. James cramped up and left the game, which opened the door for the Spurs to steal the win.
Miami came back with a vengeance in Game 2 and would not settle for a loss. Even with Spurs stars like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker playing well, the Heat managed to pull out a hard-fought road victory as the series headed back to South Beach on Tuesday night.
After one of the strongest starts of the postseason in Game 3, San Antonio withstood the comeback of Miami to hand the Heat a tough loss on their home court. ESPN’s SportsCenter talked about Miami’s home winning streak that the Spurs snapped:
Spurs deal Heat 1st home loss of this postseason. Miami had not lost at home in playoffs since Game 1 of last year’s NBA Finals… to Spurs.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 11, 2014
College basketball insider Dick Vitale shared his thoughts on Game 3:
Spurs dominate - just heard Leonard was sensational - What happen to the Heat ?Wow a big big W a4 Spurs loners— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) June 11, 2014
The ESPN stats department shared a stat showing the importance of forward Boris Diaw on Tuesday and throughout this championship series:
Spurs have outscored Heat by 45 points in this series with Boris Diaw on the floor. He was +20 in Game 3— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 11, 2014
There is no question that the Heat are one of the best teams in the league and deserve to be on this stage, but certain key players are not stepping up. When asked about the lackluster play of the point guards for the Heat, James told Michael Wallace of ESPN.com about the faith the entire team has in the players moving forward:
We want them to run the offense and we want them to defend. When they get open looks, we want them to take [shots] with confidence. When they have an opportunity, we want them to be aggressive. You can control how you defend. You can control how much energy you bring to the game. If our two point guards do that, we can be OK with that…I know our two point guards; they're very passionate. They've got a lot of pride. And I know they're looking forward to learning from what they did and try to be better in Game 4.
James is one of the smartest players in the sport, and he has already set his focus on winning in Game 4 and keeping this series alive. The superstar knows his team has the home-court advantage on Thursday, and the Heat must capitalize on that with a win.
Which team will win Game 4?
Not only will James have to step up in both the offensive and defensive zones (Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points in Game 3), but role players like Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen must also have their best games to date.
Even with Miami playing at its best, San Antonio has the depth and team-first mentality to stifle the Heat’s advances. Lucky for Miami, though, the team has the best player in the NBA, and he will take over Game 4.
Predicted Winner: Miami Heat, 100-97
*Stats via NBA.com.