Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports[/caption]
After four games, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are even in the NBA Finals as pivotal Game 5 approaches. While Game 1 was a nail-biter, the average margin of victory for the next three games has been by 24 points. Here are the statistics for both teams in wins and losses:
San Antonio Spurs -
Wins (2): 102.5 pts, 44.5 rebs, 22.5 asts, 4.5 blks, 8.0 stls, 8.0 tos
Losses (2): 88.5 pts, 40.0 rebs, 18.5 asts, 4.0 blks, 4.0 stls, 17.0 tos
Difference: +14.0 pts, +4.5 rebs, +4.0 asts, +0.5 blks, +4.0 stls, -9.0 tos
Miami Heat -
Wins (2): 106.0 pts, 38.5 rebs, 22.5 asts, 6.5 blks, 11.0 stls, 7.5 tos
Losses (2): 82.5 pts, 41.0 rebs, 20.5 asts, 5.0 blks, 6.5 stls, 12.0 tos
Difference: +23.5 pts, -2.5 rebs, +2.0 asts, +1.5 blks, +4.5 stls, -4.5 tos
The Key to Victory -
Through all the story lines of the role players leading their respective teams to victories in Games 2 and 3 to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade exploding in Game 4, one aspect has remained constant: turnovers. Both teams have played exceptional half-court defense, but when one team decides to be aggressive (gamble), they are usually successful.
For example, Dwyane Wade recorded six steals in the previous game and was very fortunate he didn’t cost his team any easy points. Wade made a concerted effort to intercept cross-court passes made by the Spurs. Although it led to easy dunks and layups in this game, a missed attempt could easily lead to the Heat playing 4-on-5 and the Spurs finding an open three-point shot or basket in the paint.
Heading into Game 5, the Spurs should recognize that they have been able to execute much more effectively in their half-court offense than the Heat and it doesn’t require making risky passes. By eliminating the Heat’s fast break opportunities, they have shown the ability to impressively defend LeBron and Wade.
The Heat will continue to gamble in the passing lanes to generate energy on both ends and likely won’t be as successful as in Game 4. It will be up to the Spurs to make their open shots and be ready for offensive rebounding opportunities. As a result, the Spurs will be heading back to South Beach with a 3-2 in the NBA Finals.
Game 5 of the NBA Finals tips off on Sunday on ABC, 8 p.m. ET.