Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (-11.5, 197.5 o/u)
The Miami Heat (41-29, 18-16 Away) have a half-game lead in the race for third in the East, but it’s safe to assume that advantage will disappear tonight when they visit a place where no one has won this season, the AT&T Center. The Heat will try to deal the mighty San Antonio Spurs (59-11, 35-0 Home) their first home loss in 44 games tonight (7:30 PM Eastern).
Miami has edged their way past Boston for third place by winning nine of their last twelve. But it’s a very precarious lead, as the Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, and Charlotte Hornets are all right on their tail at 41-30. Miami should be able to keep this pace up though; not only do they have a favorable schedule after this game, but they’ve proven they can win games in different ways.
The Heat were a defensive team just a few weeks ago, but the arrival of Joe Johnson to the lineup has given the team an extra shot in the arm on the offensive side of the ball. Johnson has averaged 15.4 points per game in the month of March, shooting 56-percent from the field and 58-percent from three. His help is what Dwyane Wade and Miami needed to become contenders in the East.
Tonight Miami’s renewed offense will be tested. Not only are the Spurs the best defensive team in the league, but they’re looking to bounce back after a bad beat against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.
The 91-88 loss to the Hornets came after San Antonio started the game on a 28-7 run. It was their second loss in March and only the 11th on the season.
San Antonio allows a league-best 92.3 points per game, and they haven’t lost a home game in over a calendar year. Their 44-game streak is tied with the ’95-96 Chicago Bulls as the second-longest in NBA history.
Miami is 1-5 ATS in its last six games on the road against San Antonio; however, their recent form suggests 11.5 points are too many to lay down. Take the Spurs to win but the Heat to cover.
Pick: Heat (+11.5).
(Photo credit: Zereshk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons)
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