NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Sunday

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, June 8, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Every day during the NBA Playoffs, LT Profits Sports seeks that one single playoff play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Playoff Play of the Day Sunday.

After a high scoring affair in the sweltering heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, look for more defense Sunday night when the Miami Heat (66-32, 26-23 away) again pay a visit to the San Antonio Spurs (75-26, 42-10 home) for Game 2 from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on ABC with the Spurs leading the series 1-0.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 198½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -102.

The opening game of this series was a high-scoring contest with the Spurs drawing first blood 110-95, but we do not expect the teams to replicate that pace especially with the recent history of Miami stiffening in Game 2s defensively after losing the first game. Granted the Heat have never faced a team as good as the Spurs in the playoffs during the LeBron era, but we still expect Miami to step up defensively as has become its wont as every series goes on.

The Spurs shot a blistering 58.8 percent in Game 1 going 40-for-68 from the field and 13-for-25, 52.0 percent beyond the arc, and consider how much more than 110 points they could have scored if not for 23 turnovers! Still, the fourth quarter of that contest almost deserves an asterisk with the broken air conditioning leading to stifling heat and James missing most of the final stanza with leg cramps.

You see, what makes James great besides enormous offensive abilities is that he is also an elite defender, and the Spurs simply did not miss any shots down the stretch with James on the Miami bench. James should be fine for this Game 2 though and the air conditioning should be working as well. And remember that even under normal conditions, Miami is 5-0 in Game 2 of a series when losing Game 1 and in all five cases the defense stepped up considerably.

For a perfect example, look back no further than the Eastern Conference Finals when the Heat allowed 107 points in Game 1 while losing to the Indiana Pacers and allowed just 83 while winning the pivotal Game 2 on the road. And even with the Spurs getting whatever they wanted in Game 1, the Heat are third during these playoffs in points against at just 93.2 per game, and this is after quietly ranking fifth in the league in points against (97.4) in the regular season.

Even the Spurs play better defense than often given credit for, as they finished sixth in points against during the regular season at 97.6 per game and are eighth in the playoffs yielding 98.4 points per contest but fourth in field goal percentage allowed at 44.0 percent during the post-season.

And remember that much of the 95 points scored by the Heat in Game 1 came in transition off of the 23 San Antonio turnovers, and that was atypical for a Spurs’ team that averaged 13.5 turnovers per game during the regular season and has lowered that average to 12.1 turnovers per game during these playoffs even with the Game 1 debacle in that department.

Now, we totally get that the Heat’s perfect 5-0 straight up record with LeBron in Game 2s after losing Game 1 is in jeopardy here given the better opponent, but we still feel that their defense will step up like it has always done in these situations and at the very least keep this game lower scoring than Game 1 to try and give themselves a chance to even up this series.

Whether they do get to 1-1 is very debatable and we in fact see the Spurs edging away late here, but in any event, we do look for improved defense to lead to an ‘under’ in Game 2 from San Antonio on Sunday.

[gameodds]5/295576/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Heat, Spurs ‘under’ 198½ (-102)