1) It is SATURDAY, JUNE 8. LeBron James finally has the one little career honor that had eluded him. He's on the cover of NBA 2K14 (pictured), his first time fronting that video game. Click here for the brief trailer promoting the Oct. 1 release. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NBA Finals poll, Heat-Spurs betting odds, Biogenesis baseball scandal, UM football title chances, Marlins Sad-O-Meter.
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Click on Spurs Land First Punch for my column off Game 1 loss.
POLL: WHAT DOES A GAME 1 HOME LOSS DO TO A FAN'S CONFIDENCE?: Heat fans are wrestling with themselves, down 1-0 in these Finals, home-court advantage squandered. Is confidence unwavering and seeing this as a mere minor blip? Or is confidence shaken to a point Miami feels like the underdog now? Or is it somewhere in between? I wonder if fans can really even be honest with themselves. If one wants so badly for a Heat repeat-title, mustn't wishful thinking be part of any claim to continued supreme confidence. All of this is worth gauging today. So vote and say why you feel as you do. And vote honestly. If you can...
FINALS G1: SPURS 92, HEAT 88: MIAMI TIRES, SQUANDERS FOURTH-QUARTER LEAD: The Heat had five turnovers in the fourth quarter. San Antonio had four the entire game. You want a telling stats? There it is. LeBron and D-Wade both blamed the loss at least in part on physical condition, with Miami coming off a 7-game conference finals series and San Antonio with a week's more rest. "We were a little fatigued," said Wade of the late going. "We looked like a team coming off a seven-game series." James corroborated, saying, "I could see it in a few of our guys' faces." Well, get lots of rest the next two days, fellas. Game 2 Sunday. Look for my column off the Game 1 loss online. ..... Original post: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh vs. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Only 52 percent in an ESPN SportsNation poll say Miami's Big 3 is better. (See a stats comparison in The List below). And, although Miami is favored by betting odds, 51% in that same national poll say San Antonio will win and 65% are rooting for the Spurs to win. All of this fine is fine if you're a Heat fan because you know your team tends to play very well when challenged or doubted. (In that spirit I would throw in that a landlside 86% called SA's Gregg Popovich a better coach than Erik Spoelstra. I too think Pops is a great coach, although we Gregs secretly resent Gregs who feel the need to add that second 'g' to the end of the name. It's uneccesary. It's haughty. It's like Tom calling himself 'Thom'. Where was I!?) There is a strain of thought that Indiana gave Miami a harder time than San Antonio will. That's false. Spurs are not as physical and don't rebound as well but are a better all-round team, especially offensively. How the Heat guard Parker (mostly with Mario Chalmers) will be as important as how Kawhi Leonard fares defending LeBron. The key, of course, will be Wade ansd Bosh performing better overall than they did most of the Eastern finals, and I think San Antonio presents a better matchup for that than did Indy. Finals prediction: Heat in 7.
Uh oh. Gamblers flocking to Spurs: This from Kevin Bradley, sports book manager for Bovada: "The fact that the Heat had to go to 7 games with the Pacers seems to have left a negative impression with our bettors who have been increasingly betting more on the Spurs for the Series." Bradley said 66 percent of the public is on the Spurs against the line, and that just over 60% of the money was on San Antonio plus-5 points in Game 1. "It is not often during the regular season we are fans of the Heat here at the book," Bradley said, "but during the playoffs they have given us some great results so far."
Poll result: Heat in six games (and in general): We admitted all along that a poll in a Miami Herald blog (you may still vote) naturally is skewed heavily toward the Heat, and sure enough 86.4 percent picked a Miami championship, with most (55.2%) calling it in six games. Votes rolled in from 44 states and 40 countries. Not surprisingly, after Florida, most votes came from Texas, where 59.5% overall picked the Spurs.
MARLINS WIN IN 20 INNINGS: Longest game in Marlins history. That's blog-worthy. Fish win at Mets today 2-1, in 20. Shouldn't that count as two wins? Marlins could use the help.
"U-S-A!" SERENA TAKES THE FRENCH: This morning in Paris Serena Williams dusted Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 to become the first American to win tennis' French Open since Serena herself did way back in 2002. A truly remarkable career adds another page.
THE LIST: BIG 3 VS. BIG 3: Miami's vs. San Antonio's based on regular-season and playoff averages for points, rebounds and assists entering The Finals:
MIAMI Regular-season Playoffs
LeBron James 26.8 - 8.0 - 7.3 26.2 - 7.3 - 6.4
Dwyane Wade 21.2 - 5.0 - 5.1 14.1 - 4.9 - 4.9
Chris Bosh 16.6 - 6.8 - 1.7 12.3 - 6.6 - 1.2
Totals 64.6 - 19.8 - 14.1 52.6 - 18.8 - 12.5
SAN ANTONIO Regular-season Playoffs
Tim Duncan 17.8 - 9.9 - 2.7 17.8 - 9.2 - 2.1
Tony Parker 20.3 - 3.0 - 7.6 23.0 - 3.9 - 7.2
Manu Ginobili 11.8 - 3.4 - 4.6 11.5 - 4.5 - 5.4
Totals 49.9 - 16.3 - 14.9 52.3 - 17.6 - 14.7
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...