A series split.
Here we are, exactly a year later, and the San Antonio Spurs and Heat are sitting in the same spot after two highly contested NBA Finals games.
Well, not exactly the same spot. The biggest difference is who lost home court. Last year, the Spurs stole Game 1 and immediately put a chokehold on Miami’s home court advantage. This year, Miami rallied behind LeBron James to take Game 2 and head back to South Beach with a split.
Of course, splitting the opening two games in the NBA Finals means a lot less than it has for the past 29 years. The Spurs will see another home game, guaranteed, rather than facing three straight in Miami.
However, returning home down 3-1 against the best player in the universe just seems like a near-impossible feat.
The Spurs will be forced to reclaim the home court advantage they fought and earned during the regular season. How hard of a task is that? Not as hard as you would think.
While the Heat are tied for the sixth best home record in the league, with San Antonio, the Spurs are far and away the best road team in the association. Sitting at a 30-11 road record, the next closest team is the Oklahoma City Thunder, trailing by a whole five games.
On the flip side, the Heat have not lost at home during the postseason. Honestly, when looking at their opponents during the second season, it’s not hard to figure out why. Everyone knew about the Indiana Pacers struggles, and the Heat’s other two opponents (Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Bobcats) were a combined .530 winning percentage, a combined ten games over .500.
In all of San Antonio’s title runs, there has been at least one crucial road win en route to hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
In 1999, back in the 2-3-2 Finals format, the Spurs went into New York and captured the title from the Knicks with back-to-back road victories in the NBA Finals, a tough task in the old Madison Square Garden. In 2003, Steve Kerr entered the game for a struggling Spurs team, and quickly knocked down four three-pointers on the way a Western Conference Championship. In 2005, it’s an easy one to guess. Robert Horry’s heroics on the road in Detroit, in a pivotal Game 5, gave the Spurs two chances to win the title at home. In 2007, it was all about Horry again. Without him on the road in Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns and a feisty, fired-up crowd, the Spurs grabbed the crucial 3-2 series lead heading back to Texas.
Winning at least one on the road is nowhere near an impossible task. Miami fans are far from the greatest fans:
It’s very easy to remove them from being a factor in the contest.
The Spurs have already had some crucial road wins this postseason (Game 4 in Dallas and Game 6 in Oklahoma City). There should be another one coming their way pretty soon.
Hopefully, it’s tonight.