Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 7:54 PM
For the second time in a few weeks, the world of sports is wondering if the Miami Heat dynasty is over before it even began. They did rally after falling behind Indiana two games to one in the second round. A potential implosion seemed in the offing because Dwyane Wade was yelling at his coach…and because the team itself seemed incapable of pulling together.
But, they DID pull together (after Wade had his knee drained and started playing much better). They won the last three games of the Indiana series, and then the first two games of the Boston series…looking once again like the clear powers of the Eastern Conference even if they weren’t yet playing at a level that would rank them as best in the West.
Now…after losing AT HOME to Boston Tuesday Night, they trail three games to two and must win on the road Thursday Night just to stay alive for a seventh game this weekend. If Miami were to end their season tonight or this weekend:
*Head coach Erik Spoelstra would surely be fired because he’s been outcoached significantly by Doc Rivers in the Eastern Finals. All he’s been able to resort to is New Age psychobabble in huddles and postgame press conferences. Look, it’s okay to learn some lessons from the journey your own…but you have a lot of control in deciding the path you take! Don’t act like losses are something that fall out of the sky and hit you in the head. Make an adjustment!
*LeBron James and Dwyane Wade may have to be split up via trade because they bring such similar skill sets to the package. Two stars in that mode are redundant. Champions have star players in the paint. Champions have point guards who know how to direct an offense. Champions don’t just alternate making their scorers stand around and watch the other guys. As hard as it is to accept at first, Miami would significantly improve its title hopes by trading one of those guys for an impact center.
*The support cast would have to be re-worked AGAIN because they just don’t bring much to the table. You know what San Antonio’s cast brings to the table, even if they didn’t play up to expectations in the Western finals. You know what Oklahoma City’s cast brings to the table, even if it’s just gobbling up some fouls while they try to grab rebounds and steal a few dunks. Miami’s role players are limited and way too inconsistent to trust.
All that being said…Miami is still a small favorite in Thursday’s game as we go to press. And, they’d obviously be a medium-sized favorite at home in a seventh game if it gets that far. Yes, the market has greatly overestimated Miami in this series! But, market prices sometimes reflect future potential better than what naysayers are thinking in the darkest of times.
Market misses with the Heat in this series:
Miami (-8.5) ended regulation in an overtime tie in G2 (miss by 8.5 points)
Miami (+2.5) lost in Boston 101-91 in G3 (miss by 7.5 points)
Miami (-2) ended regulation in an overtime tie in G4 (miss by 2 points)
Miami (-7.5) lost outright at HOME 94-90 in G5 (miss by 11.5 points)
If misses in that range happen again in Game Six…Miami’s going home…
MIAMI vs. BOSTON
Game Six Vegas Line: Miami by 1.5, total of 179
Boston leads 3-2
What does Boston have to do to get respect against the line? They’re 2-0-2 in regulation the last four games but are still seen as the inferior team even when playing at home. Clearly the game is being priced on the potential of what Miami can do when they’re playing well (which, they have to admit is NOT something they seem to do on command against opponents who don’t blink). It is worth nothing though that Miami was in position to cover the last game in Boston at this price when they had chances in the final minute of regulation to get the win. If you think Miami has some mettle left, laying -1.5 here isn’t as outlandish as laying -7 or -8 at home.
The total hasn’t moved from the last two games. It’s been an Over series, 4-1 to this point. But, one of those Overs came in overtime…so 3-2 is more like it. To us, something in the low 180’s makes more sense in the math. If Miami figures out a way to play four full quarters of defense instead of just two or three, then we may finally have one of those classic Eastern Conference games where both teams end up in the 70’s.
JIM HURLEY knows all of you will be watching this game tonight (TV ratings for this series have been through the roof!)…and that you expect to WIN WHILE YOU WATCH! The full force of NETWORK’S exclusive TEAM HANDIAPPING approach will find the best Las Vegas option whether it’s a side or a total (or maybe a parlay of BOTH!)
GAME FIVE SUMMARY
BOSTON 94, MIAMI 90
Field Goal Pct: Boston 41%, Miami 39%
Three-Pointers: Boston 6/15, Miami 7/26
Free Throws: Boston 22/27, Miami 19/25
Rebounds: Boston 39, Miami 49
Turnovers: Boston 12, Miami 15
Vegas Line: Miami by 7.5, total of 179.5
This game has been covered to death by the national media already. The only thing we’d ad is that you should remember Miami won rebound differential by +10. It’s become a popular storyline that “old, slow Boston” has been winning all the 50/50 opportunities because of hustle. Miami could be doing better in the hustle stats…but selective memory is weighing too heavily on the reporting. Miami’s poor three-point shooting has been a hidden issues as well. They win if they go 9 of 26 instead of 7 of 26…and they would have won in Boston the other night if they had gone 7 of 19 instead of 6 of 19. Again…the role players aren’t stepping up and making their open looks. As many clouds as there are hanging over the Heat right now in their series…they’re just a few plays away from already being in the finals.
You can purchase JIM HURLEY’S Thursday slate right here at the website with your credit card. Remember to take care of business EARLY because of day baseball. A huge bash of Interleague fun starts Friday, which means we have a lot of lookahead and getaway spots on the schedule Thursday. Easy money if you have the right information!
Top Day Games
NY Mets at Washington
LA Dodgers at Philadelphia
Cleveland at Detroit
Top Night Games
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (suddenly a pennant race game!)
Atlanta at Miami
Tampa Bay at NY Yankees
Baltimore at Boston
Toronto at Chicago White Sox
If you have any questions about NETWORK’s basketball or baseball service, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to ask about combination packages that include race day at Saturday’s Belmont. JIM HURLEY will have special horse racing packages that involve the big race itself…or the full day of action in New York if you’re a more serious player.
Back with you Friday in the NOTEBOOK as this magnificent June continues. We may have the first Triple Crown winner in decades…this year’s NBA championship matchup will be known shortly…and we’re about to embark on one of the most anticipated IL schedules in a long time with the two best divisions (East vs. East) going head-to-head.
THE SUMMER IS REALLY HEATING UP! SO GET WITH THE HOTTEST HANDICAPPER IN THE LAND, JIM HURLEY!