If you were looking for drama from the 2014 NBA Finals clash between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, odds are good that you've been disappointed, with the exception of LeBron James' cramps at the end of Game 1.
Now, as the series returns to San Antonio for Game 5 on Sunday, the only thing remaining is the Spurs' coronation. They've dominated every phase of this series on offense and defense, proving to the Heat that their road through the Eastern Conference was child's play.
It's always dangerous to declare a series is over before the confetti drops, but the Heat certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to get back in these Finals. We've got the final word on what to expect from the AT&T Center, as well as updated odds for Game 5.
NBA Finals Game 5 Odds (via OddsShark.com, as of June 14 at 1:30 p.m. ET)
|Point Spread||Over/Under||Start Time||Location|
|Spurs (-5)||195.5||8 p.m. ET||AT&T Center (San Antonio)|
Game 5 Prediction
The Heat have to take a cue from the 2004 Boston Red Sox if they want to win their third consecutive championship: Make history or we're history.
On the positive side, Miami doesn't have to come back from a 3-0 hole like those self-proclaimed "idiot" Red Sox did against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. They also don't have to erase 86 years of bad memories in the process.
However, the Heat do have to do something that has never before been done in the NBA Finals to complete their three-peat: come back from a 3-1 deficit (via ESPN's Numbers Never Lie):
Good news @spurs fans... No team in NBA Finals history has EVER overcome a 3-1 series deficit.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) June 13, 2014
Compounding the problem for Miami is how the Spurs feel about holding such a commanding lead, as seen in this quote from Tim Duncan, via NBA.com's Twitter feed:
If you combine those factors and that attitude with the fact that the Heat haven't stopped the Spurs from scoring virtually the entire series, how do you bet against the home team in this spot?
Yahoo! Sports' Kelly Dwyer weighed in on the Spurs' offensive production prior to Game 5:
The Spurs, frankly, are playing as if it doesn’t matter who is standing on the other side of the ball. It’s true that Miami is not to be feared as a defensive unit, but you also get the feeling that San Antonio would be pulling off this sort of incredible offensive play even if the Pacers or Grizzlies or, heck, the 2005 San Antonio Spurs were lining up to guard things.
What's been the biggest story of the NBA Finals?
LeBron James has been holding up his end of the bargain for the Heat, averaging 27.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the Finals. Dwyane Wade is only scoring 16.3 points in the Finals and is shooting just 46.2 percent from the floor compared to 54.5 percent in the regular season.
Chris Bosh is one of the few Heat players with size, yet he's content to stand on the wing and shoot three-pointers, which is why he's only attempted 15 shots and two free throws in the last two games.
The Spurs have gotten contributions from everyone, especially in the last two blowout wins. Kawhi Leonard is becoming a star right before our eyes with a career-high 29 points in Game 3, followed by 20 points and 14 rebounds in Game 4.
Thirteen Spurs scored in the 107-86 drubbing of Miami in Game 4. The Heat have only had one game in these Finals where 10 players scored (Game 4, because the team was losing by so much that head coach Erik Spoelstra likely wanted to rest his stars for the next game).
San Antonio's ability to make the extra pass and finish at the rim has put the Heat on their heels with no solution on the horizon. This series has been building towards a coronation for someone, and now we know that it will be the fifth title for the Spurs in the Tim Duncan-Gregg Popovich era.
Prediction: Spurs 104, Heat 94
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