Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/9/14
The Miami Heat have been the favorites to win the 2013 NBA championship since they wrapped up their celebration parade at the end of last season, but that’s not to say that the NBA odds for this year can’t still change. After splitting Games 1 and 2 in South Beach, the San Antonio Spurs have effectively rewritten the best-of-seven series heading into Game 3. The Spurs are negative-2.5 favorites on Tuesday’s Game 3 moneyline. Although the Heat have faced adversity over the course of their playoff run, they haven’t yet been forced to adapt against a team as established as these veteran Spurs. Whereas the Indiana Pacers were a valiant foe in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Spurs are a proven dynasty who’ve only improved their odds of winning an NBA championship with age. Starting in Game 3, the Spurs will hold home-court advantage over Miami up until Game 5. While it’s unlikely that San Antonio completely locks down the series considering how badly they were defeated in Game 2, it’s at least possible that they could close things out without having to make the trip back to Florida. Over the course of the first two games of the series, the Heat looked both fallible and unstoppable. While they failed to find an answer for the crafty Spurs down the stretch in Game 1, they maximized every last ounce of talent in their lineup in Game 2, proving that there’s more to the Miami Heat than simply LeBron James. Now as Game 3 approaches, all eyes will be watching the Spurs to see if they can nip Miami’s momentum in the bud and take advantage of the fact that they effectively stole home-court in the series. Fans, critics and oddsmakers alike will pay special attention to how San Antonio’s defense responds to the adjustments the Heat made in Game 2. It’s one thing to contain James at the top of his game, but it’s entirely more difficult if they’re getting such overwhelming production from supplementary weapons like Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and Mike Miller. (The three combined for 41 points, 8-for-12 from beyond the arc.) Would compensating to cover Miami’s three-point presence leave the Spurs susceptible to a big game from James? Would failing to adjust spell their demise? Over on the Heat bench, expect head coach Erik Spoelstra to continue to preach energy and chaos on defense. It’s considerably less daunting to beat the Spurs when they’re committing 16 turnovers as they did in Game 2 than when they limit themselves to four like in Game 1. This post is presented by Bovada.
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