Miami Heat bank on home advantage against Spurs in Game 3
Miami: Locked 1-1 after the first two games, the most evenly-matched teams of the 2014 NBA Finals -- Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs would be looking to take the upper hand when the action shifts back here from San Antonio for Game 3 of the best-of-seven series.
Having gone down in the first game, the two-time defending champions, Heat bounced back in style to win the previous tie in San Antonio to even the finals at 1-1. And now with back-to-back games scheduled here, the home-court advantage belongs to the Heat.
Although it is not going to be easy, as without doubt, the Spurs have all the qualities to not just match up to the Heat but also pose a huge challenge to them.
The two sides haven`t disappointed their fans yet. In fact, the last team to win a playoff game in Miami was the Spurs, which bagged Game 1 of last season`s finals.
This season`s game one, which will be talked about for quite some time now for the air-conditioning malfunction and cramps inside a steamy arena that forced star player LeBron James of Miami Heat to leave the game in the final minutes, saw Spurs run away with the match.
Miami managed to equalise in the second game, but it was by no means a cake walk for the defending champions. Spurs and Heat were tied 12 times and experienced 17 lead changes.
The Heat got off to a slow start and for most part of the game, were playing from behind. And it was only when James got rolling in the third quarter, things started to fall in place for Miami. Had it not been for the final moments, the Heat would have been lagging 0-2.
However, the pressure, which was on Miami in the last game, is back on the Spurs now and they would need to come up with an extraordinary show to swing the momentum back in their favour here.
The crowd, excitedly waiting for the action to begin here, would put all their weight behind the hosts and the Spurs will have to be on guard during the back-to-back playoff games for the third time.
Miami with a franchise-record 11 straight postseason games at home, will certainly start as favourites tomorrow.
All that Miami, with the longest active winning streak of 13 straight triumphs, require to do for a third consecutive championship title is to remain unbeaten at home.
The Heat lost the finals in 2011 but won back-to-back titles in 2012 and last season.
The excitement at the arena, overlooking the bayfront was visible on the eve of the game and the fans here would be hoping for no less than a thrilling contest on Tuesday.