NBA Finals Game 5 Preview

A Perfect 4-0 Saturday in baseball! Blue Ribbon wins 4th in 5 game with Dodgers 5-3 win over Pirates. Hit & Run 3-0 with Angels, Mariners and Red Sox.

THE JIM SEZ WEEKEND SPORTS REPORT

NBA FINALS GAME 5 TILT ON SUNDAY NIGHT HEADLINES A FANTASTIC FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND ...PLUS MORE NBA DRAFT NOTES

By Jim Hurley:

Take your pick as to what sport turns you on the most this Father's Day weekend ...

Is it the U.S. Open Tournament in Merion (Pa.) where golf "no-names" often come out of the weeds to win?

How about Major-League Baseball where the St. Louis Cardinals keep on rollin' along while folks continue to ask what's wrong with the Washington Nationals and those two teams from L.A.?

Or is it these ongoing NBA Finals that are all knotted up at two games apiece while entering Sunday night's Game 5 tilt in San Antonio?

The truth of the matter is we've really only had one close game in this series - see the Spurs' 92-88 triumph back in Game 1 -- as the next three tilts were decided by 19, 36 and 16 points, respectively.

So there's been drama while this series is tied and thus headed now to a "best two-of-three" but there hasn't been nearly as much in-game drama as hoop nuts would like ... know what we mean?

We'll lay out the keys to Game 5 in just a moment in our Jim Sez Preview but first check out some of these pointspread stats/figures:

San Antonio enters this Game 5 bash at 12-6 ATS (against the spread) overall this playoff season for a .667 winning rate and note the Spurs have covered seven of their last 10 post-season games in all while dating back to Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinal Round against Golden State. The Spurs are now 5-4 against the odds in all playoff home games this year while sporting a 7-2 ATS mark on the post-season road.

On the flip side, Miami exited Thursday's Game 4 of these NBA Finals at 11-9 versus the vig this post-season (that's a .550 winning rate) and note the Heat's 5-6 against the odds at home during these playoffs and 6-3 ATS away.

P.S., while much is being made of the fact the Heat are a perfect 6-0 SU (straight-up) and 6-0 ATS following a playoff loss this spring, note that Miami is 0-5 versus the vig following a win while dating back to the start of the Eastern Conference Finals.

So, don't let Miami give you that "what, me worry?" look here because this team's maddening inconsistent ways should have the South Florida bunch a tad concerned even though it's worth noting that the Heat's right now listed as a -270-to-$100 betting favorite to capture this series and that's an even bigger price than the original -220-to-$100 price. Hmmm.

Now, here's some more numbers:

The Heat enters Game 5 averaging 94.3 points per game in this series while the Spurs are averaging 95.5 ppg but we looked it up and whenever Miami scores more than 94 points a game in playoff road tilts it wins - see 4-0 spreadwise away when exceeding that point mark - and so for all the talk about Miami battening down the hatches on defense, the fact of the matter is the Heat must get-out-and-go and get 94-or-more points ... got it?

THE NBA FINALS: MIAMI at SAN ANTONIO - Series tied 2-2; Game 5 is Sunday at 8 p.m. ET

No doubt you've all chewed up and digested all the key stats regarding Miami's 16-point road win in Game 4 - yes, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teamed up for 85 points while shooting a combined 37-of-64 from the floor (a dazzling .578 shooting rate) but did you realize that maybe the biggest undervalued stat of the night for Miami was that veteran reserve G Ray Allen chipped in 14 points even though he banged home just one three-pointer.
Now, heading into this ultra-pivotal Game 5, the so-called "Big Three" of James, Wade and Bosh must find their way again (even if they don't necessarily have to score 85 points in all) but the Heat must know it's gonna get some real productivity from its bench that otherwise has been pretty much muted in these two games in the Alamo City.

One thing that is a must for the Heat: Finishing out quarters better than it did in both the second and third quarter of Game 4 is essential - hey, the Heat allowed big leads to fritter away or else we would have been among the media folks suggesting that this well could have been a blowout while heading into the final frame instead of it being a mere five-point lead.

But what about the now-wounded Spurs?

There's questions as to the health and well-being of point guard Tony Parker who posted neat stat lines of 15 points and 9 assists in Game 4 but remember he didn't score a single bucket after intermission (while missing all four of his field-goal attempts) and afterwards he let it be known that he was far from 100 percent with his sore hamstring.

Okay, so the two days between Games 4 and 5 have to help - right? - but if Parker doesn't have the drive in his legs to turn the corner and beat Miami's coverage to the hoop than a major part of the Spurs' offensive game plan goes down the drain plus consider San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich appears very concerned with not overdoing it with Parker's minutes: He finished Game 4 having played 32 minutes but reality says he probably needs to be on the floor closer to 40 minutes here in Game 5.

Then there's the matter of the other Spurs' aging vets Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili: The latter seems "shot" at this point although we do believe a major part of Ginobili's Game 4 funk (see 5 points on 1-of-5 field-goal shooting in 26 minutes of action) came about because of early foul woes while Duncan - who registered 20 points with 5 rebounds in 33 minutes of play - seemed spry enough but might the Spurs want to get it into his hands in the low box more often here?

Finally, there's that elephant-in-the-room bit:

The Spurs must be a very productive team from beyond the three-point are and attempting just 16 triples in the Game 4 loss wasn't enough:

One game after Danny Green and Gary Neal combined to drain 13-of-19 trifectas between 'em, that dynamic duo shot 'em well again with a combined 6-of-9 status from downtown but - as you can see - they hurled up 10 fewer treys and that's key because we sound like the proverbial broken record but San Antonio must be counting on 11, 12 or even more triples to go down or else the Spurs will be in trouble.

Finally, two off-the-radar X-factors here for this critical Game 5:

The Heat must show a little more trust in PG Mario Chalmers who canned two big triples in Game 4 and filled up the stat sheet with 6 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Maybe Spoelstra will give Chalmers a few minutes straight here without yanking 'em out of the lineup.

On the Spurs' side of things, you know that Parker has to have some strength in that leg, that Ginobili has to wake up from his blue funk and that the team's triple-shooters must not be shy and get off those bombs with volume in mind but San Antonio must be more active on "D" after collecting only four blocked shots and 5 steals in Game 4.

Remember in that 113-77 win in Game 3 the Spurs had 10 steals that keyed a slew of easy baskets - the same type of steal numbers must happen again here or else the Spurs will be headed to South Florida down three games-to-two. Ugh!

Here's how the NBA Finals series between the Heat-Spurs has gone so far (note the home team in CAPS):

DATE

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

6-6

San Antonio

+ 5

MIAMI

92-88

6-9

MIAMI

- 6.5

San Antonio

103-84

6-11

SAN ANTONIO

- 2

Miami

113-77

6-13

Miami

- 1

SAN ANTONIO

109-93

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Finals Side & Totals Winners when you check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the game-night/weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays/Sundays. Game 4 is set for Thursday night (tip time at 9:05 p.m. ET) and so pile up your hoops winnings this week! Also, bang out loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too each/every day online and on the toll-free telephone # here with weeknight games available after 1 p.m. ET and weekday games after 11 a.m. ET.

NBA DRAFT NOTES

Again, the NBA Draft is set for Thursday, June 27th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and things are heating up in regards to trade talk near the top of the draft:

One recent CBS Sports web site report claims the Oklahoma City Thunder figures to be a real "player" with a possible swap to get into the No. 2 draft spot currently held by the Orlando Magic.

Note that the Thunder holds the #12 and #29 picks in round one of this draft and could ship them plus a warm body (maybe G Reggie Jackson) in order to nail down the second overall pick which OKC insiders say would be Kansas do-it-all G Ben McLemore.

Sorry, we simply don't believe the Cleveland Cavaliers at #1 will be moving that pick although there have been whispers of the like. Expect the Cavs to make the slam-dunk selection of Nerlens Noel, the one-and-done center at Kentucky, and then the trade winds figure to swirl.

P.S., now that the Brooklyn Nets have named Jason Kidd as their new head coach, don't expect that organization to sit on their proverbial hands: True, salary cap restraints could hold the Nets back from doing some of the things they would like but it's not out of the question that Brooklyn could trade C Brook Lopez to the "highest bidder" and possibly than the Nets could get a high draft pick in a deal. The Nets really like Indiana G Victor Oladipo and if they could move into the top five or six than they could "get their man".

Much more NBA Draft goodies in the coming days, folks.

NOTE: Catch our NBA Finals Game 5 Preview in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.

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Nov

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