Game four of the NBA finals is upon us and making predictions is far from easy, with the pendulum having dinged, then donged then dinged again in the three matches to have transpired so far.
With the sides having emerged from two games in Florida with a win apiece, San Antonio sent out a chilling message to Miami by hammering them 113-77 in the first game of a three match homestand in Texas.
Game four is massive for Miami, with no side in the history of the finals overturning a 3-1 deficit to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy and they would dearly love totemic forward LeBron James to climb out of the hole that he’s found himself inside during the finals so far.
Miami’s sluggishness off the boards away from the American Airlines Arena is vouched for by the fact that they rank 30 in the NBA for road rebounds and they’ll need to ratchet up the intensity to stand a chance of squaring the series once more.
The Heat are evens underdogs on the money line for game four, and they’ll have to cope with a hostile AT&T Centre crowd who’ll be baying for blood after their side’s three-pointer festooned victory in game three.
The over/under bar for the clash is set at 187 points and with the NBA’s fourth and fifth ranked offences facing off the overs might seem the logical bet, but of the three games to have been played so far in the series only a high-scoring third instalment – swelled by the Spurs’ record breaking 16 successful buckets from downtown – yielded over that total. It’s 10/11 that the game four tally shimmies south of the 187 bar.
The potential loss of Tony Parker for the hosts could be a big miss, but with the Frenchman struggling with a calf complaint in the game three demolition, he was more than ably carried by teammates Danny Green and Gary Neal and San Antonio look the ones to deliver for their 20/23 money line backers.