In stark contrast to last year's classic series, the 2014 NBA Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs could realistically be over already, but it will continue with Game 5 on Sunday night.
The Spurs haven't just dominated the Heat through four games en route to taking a 3-1 series lead, they are playing some of the best offense we have seen in Finals history. They are always moving the ball and, when they do finally take a shot, it goes in.
On the other side, the Heat have to find a pulse defensively and get someone other than LeBron James involved on offense. The four-time MVP can do a lot of things by himself, but beating this particular Spurs team isn't one of them.
We went into this hoping to see a great series, but we've gotten a prolonged coronation for the Spurs instead. Here is all the information to get you set for Sunday's potential close-out Game 5.
Game 5 Schedule
|Sunday, June 15||8 p.m. ET||ABC||AT&T Center, San Antonio|
Odds (via Odds Shark as of 10 a.m. ET on June 13)
Game 5 Prediction
After losing the last two games at home by a combined 40 points, the Heat are going into the belly of the beast needing to win three consecutive games to complete their three-peat. Those 40 points don't do justice to how lopsided Games 3 and 4 were.
San Antonio shot 58 percent from the floor (78-for-134) with 46 assists. The Spurs weren't exactly slouches shooting the ball in the first two games either, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out on Twitter how historic their offense has been through four games.
On the other side, Miami's defense used to be an asset. The Heat allowed 92.5 points per game in 2011-12 and 95 points per game in 2012-13, winning championships in both seasons. This year they allowed 97.4 points per game in the regular season and 106 against the Spurs.
In last year's Finals, the Spurs scored more than 100 points three times in seven games. They have already equaled that total in four games this year.
After the second destruction in as many games, LeBron essentially told reporters that the Heat had no answers for what San Antonio is doing, via Ben Golliver of SI.com.
They smashed us. They're a [well-oiled] machine and they move the ball extremely well. They put you in so many difficult positions. If you're not right on time, right on target, they make you pay for it.
Just as disturbing for the Heat is how ineffective their offense has been. The Spurs have a terrific defense, but other than LeBron, no one for Miami is contributing anything of note. Dwyane Wade is a shell of his former self, which was made apparent following a 3-for-13 shooting performance on Thursday night in a game that the Heat had to win.
Chris Bosh has devolved from a power forward with a good outside-inside game to someone content to take jump shots from the outside, which is why he's only taken 15 shots in the last two games.
Nothing that Miami is doing has worked, and head coach Erik Spoelstra is getting destroyed on the sidelines by Gregg Popovich. When you have one team on a mission to erase the taste of last year's defeat and another lost at sea, it's impossible to predict anything but the coronation of a champion.
Prediction: Spurs 102, Heat 95
If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!