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NBA Finals - Game 4 a must-win for Miami (PHOTOS)


PhilBoxing.com




MIAMI -- Do-or-die.

It's perhaps the most over-used clich? in all of sports. But as far as the Miami Heat are concerned, the slogan fits like a glove.

Down 2-1 in this best-of-7 championships, the two-time defending champions need to win today's Game 4. A loss puts them in a hole where they would have to beat the San Antonio Spurs three straight times in order to score a 3-peat.

Good luck on that. Game 5 and 7 will be at the AT&T Center where the Spurs have just lost twice in this entire postseason.

Miami's dreaded Big 3 are performing like superstars in their fourth consecutive Finals. Through three games thus far, LeBron James has 82 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists while Dwyane Wade has quietly sank 21 of 39 field goals for 55 points.

Chris Bosh had a quiet 9 points and 3 rebounds in the Game 3 blowout, but the 6-foot-11 center starred in Game 2 win by drilling the go-ahead 3 late and feeding an open Wade to seal the 98-96 win.

So why the heck are the Heat behind in this series?

Well, the Spurs are shooting lights out and are averaging 105.6 points a game. San Antonio was blistering hot in Game 3 they made 19 of their first 21 shots to build a 25-point cushion. And they converted 75.8 percent of their shots in the opening half, an NBA playoffs record.

Obviously, the Heat defense needs to stop some of that bleeding.

Another Heat concern is their turnovers. They have 54, which the Spurs converted into 64 points. The Spurs, meanwhile, only made 47 turnovers that were turned into 39 Miami points.

The most important key, however, is the Heat bench. They haven't shown up yet in these Finals and have been thoroughly outscored by the Spurs reserves -- 100-55.

In nutshell, here's what the Heat need to secure Game 4: Play defense like champions, reduce the turnovers and draw meaningful production from guys not named LeBron, Wade and Bosh.

Easier said than done. (Homer D. Sayson)

Photo: Chris Bosh practices his stroke two hours before Game 4.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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