Coach Spoelstra and numerous sportswriters have already elegantly captured the perfect description for tonight’s do-or-die Game Seven, aptly calling it the “two best words in sports”… Game Seven.
Game Six was an instant classic, easily one of the best games in the history of the NBA Finals. The Spurs had a five point lead with 28 seconds, a situation usually safe enough that thousands of Heat fans were heading for the exits and the stadium crew were setting up the yellow tape along the edge of the court and wheeling the trophy down for the presentation. We all know how it ended, including Ray Allen hitting arguably the biggest shot of his Hall of Fame career (and mouthing “put that bleeping tape away” for a riveted national television audience).
So can the Spurs bounce back with one more heroic effort on the road? Can Lebron replicate his epic fourth quarter (minus the last two turnovers)? And which team’s role players and “other” stars will prevail tonight? Let’s take a look at tonight’s game in the final basketball column of a successful 2012-2013 season…
San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat -5.5 (Total: 188) – NBA FINALS GAME SEVEN
I wish this series could go 11 games. Or 13. 15…17…forever. But sadly, it all comes to a close tonight. It seems unlikely we will get a game that even comes close to replicating Game Six’s pure drama, though the tension will be enormous from the outset, giving tonight an NCAA Tournament-like feel.
Much attention has been lent to the crippling emotional nature of the Spurs loss, but I think that angle is a little overblown. Instead, I’d be concerned about the huge amount of minutes that were logged by the Spurs big guns, namely a slightly hobbled Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. I still expect both to be on the floor for the duration tonight, but I expect Lebron and Co. to have more in the tank.
It is also hard to ignore the fact that no team has won a Game Seven on the road in the NBA Finals in more than 35 years. Miami’s home court advantage (no matter how fickle the fans may be Chris Bosh) is still a huge, nearly insurmountable, edge in tonight’s game.
I can envision a scenario in which the Spurs play well and even win the game; they are a resilient, professional team full of Hall of Famers. But the most likely scenario is Miami doing what they have done in Game Seven’s four times during the Big Three Era – dominate. They have won every single Game Seven by an easy double digit margin. I wouldn’t be surprised (though admittedly a little disappointed) if it happens again tonight.
The smartest bet is the Miami Heat tonight. Taking out all the emotion and looking just at this team’s track record, it’s easy to envision another parade in Miami early next week.
Free Pick: Miami Heat -5.5