Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to June 4 inclusive:
3-1 Series (+2.0 units)
This could be it for the Miami Heat. More and more people seem to think they’ll lose the 2014 Finals to the San Antonio Spurs; as we go to press, Miami’s series price has slipped from +100 to +119 on the NBA odds board. And if the Heat do indeed lose, we might never see the Big Three together again. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have early termination options that they can exercise next month.
Let the speculation commence. After Monday’s workout, the Big Three were bombarded with questions about what the future may bring. As you might expect, the players say the love it in Miami, but they won’t even allow themselves to think beyond Thursday’s Game 1 (9:00 p.m. ET, ABC). Not easy to do when you have to answer the same questions over and over again.
Since the Big Three weren’t giving anything beyond the usual boilerplate, the scribes went after the supporting cast. But Ray Allen wasn’t biting. Neither was Shane Battier. Allen stressed how easy it is for veterans to stay focused on the present, while Battier waved off any concerns about Miami’s legacy. “That’s all academic at that point,” Battier told the Associated Press. “Once you put the uniform on, it’s about competing your tail off and putting yourself in position to win, which we have.”
In that case, the Heat probably don’t care too much about what Horace Grant has to say. On Tuesday, Grant went on WSCR-AM and said his championship Chicago Bulls from 1991-93 would have steamrolled the 2011-13 Heat. Then he said his “fingers and toes were crossed” for the Spurs to win the title. “I’m a big San Antonio fan,” Grant said. In a related ESPN SportsNation poll, 80 percent of roughly 15,000 respondents agreed with Grant.
Ma Cheville Amour
Speaking of radio, Spurs point guard Tony Parker took to the airwaves in his native France and told RMC Sport that he’s definitely going to play in Game 1. “I may not be 100 percent, but I’ll be there,” Parker said in French. After sitting out Tuesday’s practice, Parker backed off slightly from those words, but it’s still expected he’ll play.
Parker also gave his French audience some more information about the nature of his injury. He told RMC Sport that he hurt his left ankle back in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks, which may have then led to his strained hamstring in Game 5 of the second round versus the Portland Trail Blazers. Parker missed the second half of that game after being held scoreless in 10 minutes. We’ll have further updates on Parker’s progress as we get closer to tip off – he was hoping to practice with the team on Wednesday.
As for your daily dose of Birdman; Chris Andersen was once again unable to put in a full practice with Miami on Tuesday, as he recovers from a thigh bruise. But Andersen will be traveling with the team and is very much expected to play in Game 1. He played a relatively limited role in last year’s Finals, as Miami went with a “smallball” approach to counter San Antonio’s rim protection. But Andersen was valuable in the minutes he did play, shooting a combined 8-for-11 and posting a plus-24 in five games. He was also one of six regulars with a positive Simple Rating for Miami this year at plus-1.3. Let the pigeons loose~!