2014 NBA Finals Game One Preview – Spurs vs Heat

nba-finals_headerAfter six games apiece between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat in the East, and the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in the West, we’ve finally reached the 2014 NBA Finals. To the surprise of no one the final four teams were all either a first or second seed, but to the surprise of some the Pacers struggled as a one seed to escape both the Atlanta Hawks and the Washington Wizards, needing seven games in the first round and six in the second. That more than anything else may have been their undoing against the Heat, blowing through first and second round opponents with relative ease, leaving LeBron James and cohorts with more in the gas tank to win the race to the finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder put up a valiant fight in the West, going seven games with the Grizzlies and six with the Clippers before ultimately falling to one of the most successful franchises of the last 15 years. The Spurs hold four NBA titles and six conference titles including this year with their 112-107 OT win on Saturday night. Tim Duncan’s consistency both as a member of the Spurs for his entire career means he’s a four time NBA champion as well, though #5 would be a nice feather in his cap as the 38 year old gets ever closer to retirement. LeBron James on the other hand has many more years ahead at only 29 years of age, but winning a third consecutive NBA title would cement his legacy as a NBA player. Two vaunted teams. Two dominant franchises. Two of the best basketball players of this or any other era in the sport’s history. It all seems so even on paper that it’s not surprising the odds are fairly even going in either direction. As of this writing the Heat are a -140 favorite to win the series within 7, while the Spurs are +120. As we’ve seen during the Stanley Cup conference finals though, the odds tend to swing when either team gets a little momentum going, so you’ll want to check back on a regular basis. The biggest line for game one is on the chances of overtime – an astonishing -1900 against to +1200 on the over. Then again a tie in basketball IS far less likely than a low scoring game like hockey or baseball. Here are some keys to planning your strategy. LeBron James is a team leader in four out of five categories this post-season – points per game (27.1), rebounds (6.8), assists (5.0) and steals (1.8). On average James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh account for 60 points between them – half or more of the points the Heat score in any game. An injury to any of them in the finals would be crippling. The Spurs present more diversity – Tony Parker averages 17.8 PPG in the post-season, Tim Duncan 8.5 rebounds, and Tony Parker 5.2 assists as their respective team leaders. Manu Ginobli is turning in 14 points a game on an average of 24 minutes played – not too shabby. That ranks him third behind Parker and Duncan. Kawhi Leonard is a leader in steals (1.8) and fourth in PPG at 13.1. The Spurs spread the wealth around better but their achilles heel figuratively and literally is that Parker sat out the second half of game 6 with a bum ankle. He’s got a few days to heal up but it’s an injury that’s bothered him throughout the playoffs. The “Father Time” rap gets thrown the Spurs way, but experience vs. youth means that the Heat can’t expect to just blaze through San Antonio en route to their third title in three years. Either way the odds favor the home team for at least game one, as the Spurs are -200 tonight with the heat +170. Remember that all previews are for entertainment purposes only and to bet responsibly.

Written by Stevie J

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