The much-anticipated NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder hasn’t disappointed anyone so far. The teams are tied 1-1 as they move to South Beach for Game 3 on Sunday night.
ABC will have the coverage once again, but note the earlier time at 8:00 p.m. (ET) from AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat have opened as 3½-point home favorites on the Don Best odds screen after being 5-5½ point ‘dogs on the road. The total is 194, slightly lower than the two games in Oklahoma City.
If there’s one big theme of the first two games, it was the slow start of the Thunder. They trailed by 13 points in the second quarter of the opener before rallying for a 105-94 win. They started in even more dreadful fashion in Thursday’s Game 2, trailing 18-2 and never taking the lead despite another valiant comeback in the 100-96 loss.
LeBron James scored 32 points for Miami in the win, but more importantly played clutch late in the fourth quarter. He had a big basket with 1:25 left to stretch the lead to five (96-91) and then iced the game with two free throws with seven ticks remaining. He was 12-of-12 from the line overall.
Dwyane Wade (24 points) was also a different player last game after hearing criticism about his declining skills and athletic ability. The latter could be due to a lingering knee issue. Big man Chris Bosh moved into the starting lineup for the first time since his abdominal injury and also responded nicely with 16 points and 15 boards in 40 minutes.
Oklahoma City had its 5-game winning streak snapped (both SU and ATS). The team is 4-3 SU and 5-1-1 ATS away in the playoffs, but has played just one road game in its last six. That was a huge 108-103 win on June 4 in San Antonio in a series-changer.
Kevin Durant (34 PPG) has been brilliant in the Finals, even scoring 32 last game despite being in foul trouble. Point guard Russell Westbrook scored 27 points each game and hit some big shots, but needs to be more efficient at 20-of-50 shooting from the field (40 percent).
The Heat are sure to be playing with tons of confidence at home, especially where they tend to get the calls from the officials. Their four home games against Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals resulted in a 122-92 free throw attempt advantage.
The Heat are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS at home in the playoffs. Those first three matchups against New York, Indiana and Boston all started in Florida where they had homecourt advantage, so it’s a little different coming home for Game 3.
Totals bettors have seen the ‘over’ go 1-0-1 this series. The ‘over’ is also 9-2-1 in Miami’s last 12 and 3-0 in the final three home games against Boston (average combined points scored in regulation of just 190.3).
Oklahoma City has also seen a lot of ‘overs’ lately at 4-0-1 in its last five and 12-4-1 in the postseason. That includes 5-1 in the last six away (average combined points scored of 206.5).
Games 4 and 5 will be in Miami on Tuesday and Thursday respectively as part of the 2-3-2 format. Note that only two home teams in the last 27 years have won all three middle games, although one was the 2006 Heat led by Wade and Shaquille O’Neal.