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NBA Finals Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, June 10 (All times Eastern)

(1-W) San Antonio Spurs (1-1) at (2-E) Miami Heat (1-1), 9 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - With the series tied 1-1, the NBA Finals shift to South Beach Tuesday night for Game 3 between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat knotted things up with a 98-96 victory Sunday night at the AT&T Center.

The storyline of Game 1 was LeBron James missing the final four minutes due to leg cramps. Part of the reason for the injury was the air conditioning malfunction, but with a temperate climate in Game 2, James played like the two-time Finals MVP.

James poured in 35 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and assisted on Chris Bosh's go-ahead 3-pointer down the stretch. Bosh finished with 18 points, while Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis added 14 apiece for the Heat, who have now won their last 13 postseason games following a loss.

James received plenty of criticism for not completing Game 1 despite not being able to walk. In the Eastern Conference Finals, James found a wide-open Bosh in the corner late in Game 5. Bosh didn't make it on that night and once again, the vultures circled, suggesting James didn't want the ball late.

On Sunday, with the Spurs up by one, James drew two defenders and hit Bosh in the corner. Bosh buried the jumper to give the Heat a one-point cushion.

Bosh sealed the victory by finding Wade for an easy layup, and Miami escaped with a much-needed road victory heading into Game 3.

"All we worry about is what we can control and that's just how we play the game, how we approach the game both physically and mentally," said James. "And we live with the results."

Now, the Heat are back in the driver's seat, reclaiming the homecourt advantage. They haven't lost back-to-back playoff games since the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics and snapped the Spurs' eight-game home winning streak where all of the victories were by 15-plus points.

The Spurs were led by Tony Parker's 21 points and seven assists, while Tim Duncan totaled 18 points with 15 rebounds to tie Magic Johnson for the most postseason double-doubles in NBA history with 157.

Manu Ginobili donated 19 points off San Antonio's bench, but missed two shots and committed a crucial turnover in the final minute.

After Bosh's go-ahead 3-pointer, Ginobili threw an errant pass. James went 1- for-2 from the line to move the Heat three clear, then Ginobili missed a chance to tie with 29.9 seconds left.

"We were in a good spot. We played an OK game, not perfect but we were right there. And it slipped away," said Ginobili. "Now we are in a tough situation because we gotta go to Miami and we gotta get one. We don't want to come back here 3-1 down, it's very hard to overcome that."

The Spurs do face some serious challenges heading to Miami.

Including last season's Finals, the Heat have won four straight over the Spurs in South Beach and seven of the last eight. Miami is a perfect 8-0 at AmericanAirlines Arena this postseason.

And San Antonio didn't help itself at all from the foul line on Sunday. The Spurs went 12-for-20 and missed free throws became a critical part of the game.

San Antonio was ahead by two halfway through the final frame when Miami's Mario Chalmers was whistled for a flagrant foul for elbowing Parker. He missed both at the line, then Duncan was fouled on the next possession and he too, went 0-for-2.

"We can't miss four free throws in a row," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said.

San Antonio can take solace in knowing they won in Miami last year during the Finals.

"The series is just beginning," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Game 4 will be Thursday night in Miami.

06/10 10:15:30 ET