NBA Finals – Spurs at Heat, Game 4

Fresh off a blowout to the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat look to recover with a strong performance in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday (9:00 p.m. ET on ABC).  But if the Heat want to tie the series, they’ll have to be much better defensively.http://img.bleacherreport.net/img/images/photos/002/931/961/hi-res-ef430fa067575d238fcb32daa9c0ccd9_crop_north.jpg?w=630&h=420&q=75Fresh off a blowout to the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat look to recover with a strong performance in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday (9:00 p.m. ET on ABC).

But if the Heat want to tie the series, they’ll have to be much better defensively. At one point into the second quarter of Game 3, the Spurs were shooting over 90% from the field.  They ended up shooting 76% in the first half, an NBA Finals record.  That kind of lackluster defense by the Heat won’t get it done in any NBA game, let alone the Finals.

“Little bit of everything,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra responded when asked about what went wrong defensively in Game 3. “Pretty much all of the above. There is detail work, there is effort work. They had us on our heels.”

Added guard Mario Chalmers, “We weren’t helping each other out like we normally do and it was bringing our defense down.”

Beyond defending better, the Heat will also need to start stronger than they have in the series’ first three games.  The Heat were down by 16 after the first quarter.

For the Spurs, the key remains moving the ball and playing with pace on the offensive end.  The ball movement clearly had the Heat discombobulated.  That, combined with the Spurs hitting shots at such a high clip, gave the Heat no chance.

“It’s not something you can plan for,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili on how they prepared for the Heat defense. “There was no magic plays. We just moved the ball, and every shot went in.”

The Spurs may not be able to replicate that first half offensive success, but as long as they move the ball, they will be difficult to defend.

The current Betting Line favors the Heat at -5.5.  The Over/Under is at 197.