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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 7:00 AM

The media played up how critical Game Three was in the NBA Championship battle between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. But, there’s an air of finality to Game Four right now…because the Spurs are on the verge of taking a commanding 3-1 lead on one hand, while the Heat are just a road win a way from regaining control on the other.

*If the Spurs go up 3-1…they can either wrap things up at home in Game Five…or be positioned to win on a Miami floor where they, Indiana, and even Chicago have already won so far in this postseason. It’s not officially “over” if the Spurs go up 3-1. But, a destiny following the Dallas victory over these same Heat two years ago would seem a likely occurrence.

*If the Heat tie it back up at 2-2…then it becomes a best-of-three series where they have the best player on the floor and home court advantage in a seventh game if needed. That doesn’t make them a lock…but it puts them back in position to be about a 2-1 favorite or better to lift the trophy.

Miami sure didn’t play Tuesday Night like Game Three was urgent. You can expect a much greater sense of “now or never” on both sides of the ball. LeBron James better attack the basket more or this series is already over. The defense better get serious about denying open looks from behind the arc or things can get away from them very quickly.

Let’s get caught up with the numbers…




Vegas Line: San Antonio by 1.5, total of 187

San Antonio Leads 2-1

Tony Parker has announced on twitter that he has a slight hamstring issue. If it turns out he can’t play, then that line will flip to Miami being the favorite very quickly. If he is moving well on game day, it’s conceivable the line will move back to San Antonio by 2 (where it was for Game Three). The high number of “zig zag” or reversal bettors supporting the Heat is being counter-acted by a faction of smart money types who see this as a virtual replay of Mavs/Heat from two years ago. If the Spurs own a matchup advantage in terms of brains and generally taking Miami out of its comfort zone…then they should be at least -3 in every home game unless there’s a key injury to a starter (like Parker).

Average Result: San Antonio by 7

Average Total: 185.7

This has been a very volatile series thus far…so averages may not mean much. It was Miami who owned an impressive average victory until the Spurs rained down treys for 48 minutes Tuesday. But, while the team side results have been volatile (ranging from Miami by 19 to San Antonio by 36 with just a day between games), the Over/Unders have been very stable. Games have landed on 180, 187, and 190 thus far…and it took very strong performances on three-pointers just to get to 187 and 190 in the last two games (20 of 39 combined in Game Two, 24 of 50 combined in Game Three).

JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his on-site sources to get a read on the Heat.

*Will they make the required adjustments?

*Will they bring the required intensity?

*Are they losing confidence because it feels so much like the Dallas series all over again?

If you answer those questions properly…the Vegas line doesn’t really matter because it’s either an easy Miami win or another half-hearted Miami loss.

You can purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card during the day Thursday. Be sure you also check out early baseball. Much of the day’s card goes EARLY, so take care of business before first pitch. If you have any questions about the rest of basketball or baseball, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. You can add the rest of the NBA Finals to any MLB package for a nominal cost.

The NOTEBOOK will be back Friday and Saturday to talk baseball. We’re scheduled to preview the San Francisco Giants/Atlanta Braves series Friday, then will probably pick up on a general topic in Saturday’s edition. Sunday, it’s back to basketball for Game Five from Alamo City.

Be sure you’re with us every day so you know what’s REALLY happening in the world of sports, and link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG JUICY WINNERS! When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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